Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gnocchi Num Num

I love gnocchi. I personally feel it's one of those items that people should keep in their pantry at all times. I will never forget the time I mentioned gnocchi to a coworker. She had no clue what it was. Granted, this was a person who had never tried Thai food (she claims she didn't like it though), had never heard of couscous or hummus and only ate corn for a vegetable. I shook my head in dismay and told her she was missing out. I don't think she believed me.

If you don't know what gnocchi is, according to Wikipedia, it's "the Italian name for a variety of thick, soft noodle or dumpling. They may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, potato, bread crumbs, or similar ingredients". You can eat it in all sorts of ways. If you are looking for a very quick meal, I would suggest some vodka sauce, gnocchi and maybe some cut up chicken breast.

Cooking Light strikes again! I get most of my recipes from there these days. I can't help it. They have unique, easy and tasty things! My new cookbook is honestly one of my favorite Christmas presents this year. It's gotten plenty of use so far.

Here is another recipe that called for fennel, and I can honestly say that I couldn't even taste it. Either it cooked down so much, or other things in the dish masked the flavor. Either way, I will not look at fennel in the same way again.

This was an easy one to prepare, especially if you use already packaged gnocchi. Yes, you can make it from scratch. I actually made some several years ago. It was good, but a pain in the rear. You have to boil the potatoes, mash them and form them into little dumplings. Not really worth the effort when you can buy a package for $1.79 at Trader Joe's. Regardless, there you have it. Sausage, potato (gnocchi=potato), vegetables and cheese make a num num meal.

I liked it. Jason liked it. That makes it a winner.

Gnocchi with Chicken Sausage, Bell Pepper and Fennel
from: Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009

1 package (16 oz) vacuum-packed gnocchi
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
6 ounces basil, pine nut, and chicken sausage (such as Gerhard's), casing removed and sliced
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup (2 oz) freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Keep gnocchi warm.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan; saute 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove sausage from skillet using a slotted spoon.

3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add fennel, bell pepper, and onion to pan; cook 13 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add sausage, gnocchi, cheese, black pepper, and reserved cooking liquid to pan, cook 1 minute or until cheese melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.