Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gnocchini and red sauce

Melanie and Jeremy watched the dog for us while we were visiting in San Francisco last week so we made thank you dinner last night for them. I didn't make Melanie's favorite thing ever, which is gnocchi di zucca, but I did make a pretty decent faux bolognese sauce to go over these cute little gnocchini that I found at Sawicki's deli in Decatur. Gnocchini are just tiny-sized gnocchi. These were potato and a pretty good brand that I will certainly buy again. It's kind of difficult to make your own potato gnocchi--they get very gummy due to all the starch. I haven't tried doing it at home yet because the squash ones are so much easier and really delicious (I think I posted on them last fall). The sauce I made was my usual red sauce but I decided to add ground turkey to make it a little more substantial. Not really a bolognese at all but it was pretty tasty.

Minced one yellow onion and sautéed over medium heat in 2-3 tablespoons olive oil. Added 1 pound ground turkey and sort of mixed it around with the minced onion. You can't really brown turkey. Added 4 cloves minced garlic and 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes and kept stirring it until the minced onion pieces were totally soft and translucent--probably took about 10 minutes. Added 2 32-ounce cans of peeled, whole plum tomatoes. I use Rega, which is an imported Italian brand that comes packed in tomato puree with basil leaves tucked in. You can use whatever kind you like--crushed tomatoes or whole. Added salt and got Brian to mash up the whole tomatoes in the pot for me as they cooked. Added 3 tablespoons of fresh, chopped basil and 2 tablespoon fresh minced parsley. Let everything simmer for about 10 minutes, then added about 1/2 cup of whatever red wine that was in my glass. Covered the pot and continued to simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then uncovered and tasted to see if it needed more salt. It didn't, but yours might, so you should check. Brought a pot of water to boil and added my package of gnocchini. They are done cooking when they float to the surface--it only takes about 3 minutes, if that. Drained them and tossed with a half cup of the sauce, then served them with fresh grated parmesan and the rest of the sauce on the table for people to add themselves.

I also made the salad that I usually make--baby greens from the market with chopped cucumber, tomatoes, kalamata olives and feta cheese. Toss it all up with a dressing that is made from juice of 1 lemon, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, and lots of salt & pepper. An interesting difference to the salad this time was that I added pine nuts and used a really good Greek sheep's milk feta cheese. Another interesting thing about this salad is that Brian hates it but Melanie loves it.

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