Heart rate still elevated and high on a extra cup of coffee, I didn't mind the ga-zillion trips up and down the stairs as I refilled cabinets, collected laundry, took out trash and tidied up. I even got out the extremely-terribly-totally-awful internal vacuum and lugged it's snufalufugus hose around sucking up pesky pine needles. Truth be told it only delayed me an additional hour, but I felt very efficient as I trotted out the door with everything all cleaned up and in it's place.
Cleaning must also release some sort of endorphins, because I immediately decided that I would attempt a full home cooked meal for dinner (and not cop out with a "big salad" or assortment of frozen appetizers that I pop in the oven..).
I don't know why I even bothered asking The Boy what he wanted - as the answer is always the same
So, I made my rounds after work, stopping at the cute new Mercato Stellina which has completely delicious fresh pastas, cheeses and naturally, wine. I walked out with 2lbs of gnocchi (swoon) and a new bottle of red to try from Woodward Cellars (local here in WA). The manager assured me that it rivals the Quilceda Creek Cab, but for about half the price... yes please!
Anyway, I scooted off to the grocery store for staples, flew by the pharmacy for our Africa meds (anti-diarrheals anyone?) and home to start my creation.
I finally got to make use of some of our wedding gifts, both in preparing and in serving, so that made the venture extra exciting, but here's what I did:
2 lbs. fresh gnocchi
1 "loaf" (is there a term for this?) of Italian Turkey Sausage. (Italian cause it tastes good, turkey cause it's better for you?) really it's 16 oz.
1 container of those yummy yellow cherry tomatoes
Splash (big splash) of white, I used Ferari Carrao Sauv Blanc
Red Pepper Flakes
Grated Parm Cheese
Some diced onions or shallots or whatever you have on hand (I used both).
After heating up a big sautee pan I tossed the sausage in, breaking it up as it started to brown. I also dumped in about 2/3 cup of diced onions because I had them already chopped and leftover from my nacho spree last week. :)
Once the meat was done I set it aside in another bowl and threw the tomatoes in (whole) to cook in the leftover oil/juices/deliciousness. I covered the pan until I heard the tomatoes start to burst, then added in the (big) splash of wine and let the liquid simmer and reduce down. Depending on the tomatoes, this can be a pretty sweet sauce, or stay fairly bright and crisp. If it's too tart and you don't want to wait for the tomatoes to really carmelize, throw a pinch of sugar in.. (that's what I do, I hate waiting)
When that was nicely cooked (5 min?) I spooned the tomatoes/wine over the sausage to get it out of the way and cranked the heat on the pan back up to brown the gnocchi. A big swirl of EVOO, and the gnocchi were in. I also chopped up an extra shallot and tossed that in to brown with the little bundles of deliciousness.
I covered the pan to help them cook a bit hotter and got them a bit crisper on the outside. You have to be careful about stirring the gnocchi or you can end up with mashed potato mush instead. I know because I've accidentally made said potato mush, it's still terrific... just mushy.
Finally, sprinkle as much parm as you want, a few shakes of the red pepper flakes for some heat and dump the whole thing in a pretty dish, top with arugula and VOILA. Delicious, moderately healthy dinner with pretty colors to boot. AND you only need 20 minutes or so for the whole shebang.
Dinner was rounded out by a simple green salad (prepared while the sausage browned) and a steamed artichoke with
I shocked myself as how delicious the whole thing was, and we ended up with plenty of leftovers!