I've always loved gnocchi. I'm Italian on my moms side and she always tells me how my great grandmother made it the best. I've been craving these little potato dumplings like crazy lately! I recently went to the farmers market in search of picking up "whatever looks good". I ended up with fresh and beautiful snap peas, some asparagus, small golden potatoes, Brussel Sprouts and of course, gnocchi. Kick in the medium steaming hot vanilla latte when from when i had arrived all dopey eyed and cold, it all summed up to about $20. Anyways, while i had been roaming the isles of asparagus and not-quite-in-season-yet strawberries, i stumbled upon a man selling his own fresh pasta! I could not resist and ended up with one giant package of gnocchi.
Needless to say I've spent the last few days making lots of pasta. The first was when i arrived back home on that day from the market. Lately I've kind of been making it my own game to create something new out of whatever I have availible! The first day I had bacon, milk, lemons, and my grocceries. I boiled the gnocchi while i dwelling on a dilema. The ssauce was tricky, i originally started with cooking garlic, butter and some herbs de provonce in with milk. To thicken the sauce i added a little flour. Unfortunately the sauce tasted a little bland so after much experimentation i had added chicken broth, white wine, lemon zest and parmasan as well. I stirred the gnocchi in with the sauce as well as with some chopped sauteed lemony asparagus., all the while not knowing how it would turn out. To serve alongside i had cooked the potatoes and brussel sprouts in bacon fat with the cut up bacon. I then added salt, pepper, and some more chicken broth! The whole meal was random but luckily it turned out to be delicious! my whole extended family was in town and they had to agree it was tasty! They started joking about me going to culinary school and becoming a chef which got me thinking...and led me to this blog!
So tonight, i came home for what was supposed to be a "big family dinner" with these special lamb kabobs my mom keeps talking about. I came home to find nobody there besides my mother and grandma who informed me they were going to go to Bakers square. GROSS! Not my kind of restaurant. I insisted that I would welcome the alone time in what is usually now a very busy household and that I wouldnt have a problem fending for myself for dinner. I check the fridge....what I find is the last half of my package of gnocchi. Its decided! Pasta for dinner. I gathered my assortment of random ingredients and ended up with quite a surprise result! I call the gnocchi (shown above) peppercorn and cream cheese gnocchi. What strange ingredients i added, as if i were making a potion out of my pasta sauce! I was frustrated to find we had no crushed or chopped tomatoes in a can but we did have normal bottled pasta sauce. I spiced that up by first sweating some roughly chopped onions in olive oil and garlic. I then simmered the sauce all the while added pepper i roughly pounded with a mortar and pestle (so authentic might i point out?) I found one tomato and chopped that for the mix as well. My finale ingredient was the cream cheese! I've always seen it advertised on TV to add a dollop of cream cheese to pasta sauce so i figured i would be bold. What was weird was that while i was looking for canned chopped tomatoes i found instead some canned sliced carrotts and the addition of that to the sauce completed the chunky, full flavored meld of flavors. The finished meal was delicious with many textures and explosive flavors! The cream cheese really gave an added softness and helped blend all the flavors. I'm really beginning to like my spontanious iron chef sessions.