Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quick and Delish: Gnocchi à la lazy

I got home tonight and had no idea what to make.  I had zero desire to make my way to the grocery store, and so I played a game I've often played with myself.  I looked at what I had on hand in the cupboards, and threw something together.  This method often works well for me, just playing around intuitively, though lately I've been forcing myself to follow recipes in order to continue expanding my formal knowledge.  I decided to share this with you because it was RIDICULOUSLY easy and quick to make, hence the name I've given it: Gnocchi à la lazy.  A quick, hearty, and relatively healthy dinner that's also vegetarian friendly :)

For those who don't know, gnocchi is a pasta made using the starch in potato, rather than that of durum wheat.  This makes it a great choice for people with wheat-gluten intolerance, (though read the label as some manufacturers try to sneak a little wheat-flour in.)  Two things I love about gnocchi: it is deceptively filling, and it cooks incredibly quickly (about 2 minutes in boiling water.)

uncooked gnocchi... did you know that 'gnocchi' is actually the plural of 'gnocco'?

You'll need:

  • ~ 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ~ 1/2 small onion (or 1 shallot), chopped.
  • ~ 2 cloves garlic, crushed.
  • ~75 mL cream (of the milkfat percentage you like, though I recommend going for 10% or higher.)
  • 200g jar of crushed tomatos (I used the Delhaize brand "taste of inspirations".)
  • Somewhere between a pinch and a dash of cayenne pepper
  • ~ 1 tbsp black pepper
  • ~ 1 tbsp dried basil
  • ~ 3 handfuls frozen peas
  • ~ 400g uncooked Gnocchi

note: "~" is my shorthand for "about".  Feel free to adjust things to your taste, as that's the spirit of this dish!

Take a small saucepan and heat the olive oil (medium-high).  Swirl the oil about to cover the base of the pan, and toss in the chopped onion/shallot.  Allow the onion to soften a bit in the hot oil, it should take on a golden colour, but not brown.  When the onions are almost softened to your liking, add the crushed garlic in, stirring it into the onions & allowing it to heat for a minute or two.  Nothing should be browning here... if it is, turn your heat down.

Take the saucepan off the heat, and pour the cream in.  The cream should bubble a bit with the heat, so swirl the pot around to help keep the cream from scalding.  Add basil (I'd recommend between a tsp & tbsp, depending on how much you like basil)  Stir, and allow the pot to sit off-heat for a minute or two.  While you do, add in a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, and between a tsp & tbsp of black pepper, depending on how much you like.)  Stir again.

Open jar of crushed tomatos, add to the pot.  Stir.

Toss in the frozen peas, stir again and reheat the sauce on medium heat for about a minute or two.  Take sauce off heat.  Almost done!

In salted boiling water, cook gnocchi for about 2 minutes (they will start to float when they are done.)
Drain, (do not rinse) and mix the hot gnocchi into the sauce.  Serve.

A shaving or three of an aged pecorino or a very light dusting of parmesan would be a lovely garnish to top this (I'd recommend an aged black-olive pecorino if you can get it,) but since there was none on hand here and the goal was to NOT go to the grocery store, I can assure you that the dish still goes down well without this accent.

Bon app!


Jessica of Hey, Mons! said...

OMG I am a gnocchi addict. It's soooo good. Your title made me laugh.

Jessica said...

:) I am always at risk of eating too many gnocchi! They are the comfort-food of pastas.

Balanced Melting Pot said...

That looks absolutely delicious. I discovered gnocchi in an Italian restaurant located in teh buidling where I worked in downtown Miami. They prepared it with a very light cream sauce and like you said - very filling. I have never tried cooking it myself (not sure if I'd be able to find it in Caracas), but I'll be on the lookout now that I see the possibilities.