Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wouldn't you Gnocchi!

It was another one of those days that happen so often when your full time job is raising your kids- we veered waaay off the course of our schedule today. Things started out normally enough- we did Monday story time at the library and then open gym time afterwards, like we do every Monday. From there, everything pretty much went askew.

The "plan" was to eat a quick lunch, then pack up our Christmas decorations, do a quick dust & vacuum in the livingroom, then take a nap, and then do an art project together. 


My neighbor called as I was making lunch, and asked if I could do her a favor by taking her 2 kids (ages 5 and 3)  for the afternoon. This translates as eat FAST, nap NOW and SKIP the planned chores for the afternoon. (Eek!) We WILL get those Christmas decorations packed up properly and put back into storage.. really we will.. I'm just not sure if it'll happen before spring (ESPECIALLY if baby #2 comes early, as I suspect.)

Wouldn't you know it, 4:30 comes around, the neighbor kids go home, Metro Dad is home, and we're all HUNGRY. Uh oh. Veering from the schedule also led to neglecting to prepare for the dinner I had been planning (pork chops).. And we're overdue for groceries so we've got super limited options. It's nearing 5pm now, and I am foraging desperately for sustainence. 

I have to say, I am tremendously proud of the results. Last time we were at Trader Joe's I bought a vacuum sealed bag of "fresh" gnocchi on a whim, for an emergency meal. HALELUJAH! As I began to boil the water, I continued pulling ingredients and decided to wing a sort of basil cream & tomato sauce. Crazy how you can come up with something unexpected just by foraging and getting creative with what you have on hand. Who would've thunk it?

I always throw together sauces by whim and by taste, and this one was DEFINITELY good enough for a repeat performance. It was "company" good, actually. Now if only I can remember and replicate... Here's the gist of it:

Kitt's Fly-By-The-Seat-of-Your-Pants Basil Cream Tomato Gnocchi

Note: The TJ's gnocchi was great- minimally processed and close enough to authentic to make me happy. (I LOVE gnocchi) But any good gnocchi will do.

WHITE SAUCE: (which was also delish by itself)

-Heavy whipping cream (I poured in about a cup, I think)
-Grated fresh Romano cheese (I used about 1/2 the wedge)
-2 T of salted butter
-3-4 heaping spoonfuls of minced garlic (I tell ya, times like these I'm GLAD I have that emergency pre-minced jar in the fridge!)
-Lots of Basil (I have a stash hanging in the kitchen from the garden that I pluck & use as needed, so I prob used about 10 leaves)
-A couple splashes of (dry) white wine
-salt & pepper to taste
-pinch of sugar

I heated the cream and shredded Romano over low heat, stirring to melt in the cheese. Then added the butter, garlic, basil & wine. Reduced over low heat until it thickened up (about 5 minutes) and added salt/pepper & sugar.

Now here's the other "cheaty" part of this meal- Because I love a little "red" in my white sauce, I grabbed some pre-made (not by me) marinara sauce and added just enough to give it a pink hue and round out the flavor. (Probably about 3-4 heaping spoonfuls). Poured the sauce over the gnocchi while Metro Dad and Keely dished out the salad, and dinner was served in less than 30 minutes.

It. Was. Magnificent.

Even little Miss Picky-Eater princess loved it. She was disgruntled, however, to learn that I "tricked" her by serving pasta made out of potatoes (which she does not like). She ate the whole bowl.  Hehe.
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