Day into night at home / 07

A dose of celebration for cooking at home!

 

 

One of my favorite things about cooking is how simple ingredients can transform into something greater than the sum of their parts. This week’s main course, gnocchi, is definitely a perfect example of that. With a little heat and a little kneading, potatoes, flour, and salt become tender, pillowy dumplings. 

 

While I was testing and developing this menu I realized that gnocchis have become my go-to recipe when I’m celebrating someone. I’ve made them for many important dinners—including mom’s 70th birthday—because they’re comforting to eat, easy to make, and they feel extraordinarily special.

 

Here, you’ll toss them with caramelized shallots, lemon, and pistachios— a combination I love with pasta, which also goes well with fish. But if you’re feeling like a simple red sauce, look no further than Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce. You probably know it. I don’t know why it took me so long to discover it! It’s simple, bright and silky—  all you want from a tomato sauce. It’s an easy recipe to find, but essentially you simmer 1 can of whole tomatoes with a peeled onion sliced in half, and 5 tablespoons of butter. You simmer it for about an hour, then mash up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and add salt.

 

If you’re feeling like you want something a little heartier, my favorite way to eat gnocchi is as a side dish to the roasted chicken with schmaltzy onions from at home 03. I like to toss the gnocchi with the schmaltzy onions, because they are the best part, then serve them with the chicken.

 

To start the dinner, a fennel and orange salad. A refreshing and satisfyingly crunchy salad that is traditionally eaten in Sicily on New Year’s Eve, and a personal favorite. 

 

Last but not least, an almond olive oil cake for dessert. It is slightly gooey/chewy in the way a brownie can be, except it has no chocolate and is made with lots of almonds and olive oil. (I don’t know if that description makes sense, but it’s what I kept thinking about as I tasted it.) The texture is great and the cake gets better and better as it sits. It’s stellar any time of day and goes ever so well with a cup of coffee.

 

As a final note, I want to wish you my favorite wish for the new year. It comes from the writer Neil Gaiman—

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."

 

PS: The gnocchi are made with flour but I’ve tested them with gluten-free flour as well; they are great. Very pillowy! To work without the gluten, they only need a tiny tweak, which will be noted in the recipe.

Here is the breakdown of  steps to make the menu:

 

  • Throw the potatoes in the oven*

  • Press play on the playlist

  • Make the cake

  • Bake the cake

  • Cleanup a little

  • Check on the potatoes

  • If they are ready make the gnocchi, if not

  • Slice and cook the shallots, then

  • Make the gnocchi   

  • Cleanup a little 

  • Make the salad 

  • Chop the pistachios

  • Boil the gnocchi 

  • Toss the gnocchi with the onions, lemon, and pistachio 

  • Serve

 

* If you are making the chicken then your first steps will be making the brine. Brining the chicken for an hour. Slicing your onions. Roasting the chicken and onions. Then while they roast you can start baking the potatoes.

 

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