When I was planning my dishes for Easter, I found myself a little flummoxed. I needed a starch dish. I generally don't include a whole lot of carbs with most meals, but people were going to expect something starchy and I wasn't going to disappoint them. I also had very little time to plan this in, given all the chaos of the previous weeks. Since I was providing dessert, anything (like bread) requiring the oven was going to be a challenge. Rice had been done to death and I was really lacking in inspiration at that point. Furthermore, despite the fact that I was celebrating Greek Easter, I was feeling particularly Italian at that point and felt like celebrating my Italian heritage. Eventually it hit me: gnocchi.
This is a dish I used to make as a main meal for just me and my husband fairly frequently when I was still trying to be an accountant. It's easy and fast and flavorful. I suspect that the inspiration came from The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, but I can't find it on their website and if that's where it came from, it was a long, long time ago. You may want to warn your guests about the whole cloves, or you can let them be a very pleasant surprise.
Gnocchi in Clove Sauce (serves 8 as a side; approx. $1.76/serving)
2 lb frozen gnocchi (this is less than it sounds like it is)
2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes, drained
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ounce Peccorino cheese, grated
4 - 8 cloves, depending on your taste and mood
- Large saucepan (for cooking the gnocchi)
- Slotted spoon - very important, although a skimmer would work just as well
- Large wok or saute pan
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil.
- On the next burner over, warm the oil over medium-low heat in the wok.
- Add the onion to the wok, along with the garlic, and sweat until softened.
- Add the tomatoes and cloves.
- Meanwhile, when the water is boiling, add the gnocchi and stir well.
- As the gnocchi cook, they will float to the top of the water. Use the slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer these gnocchi to the wok with the sauce.
- When all of the gnocchi have been transferred, evacuate the dish to the serving bowl you'll be using.
- Top with the peccorino and serve.