I love to cook. Always have. Somewhere in storage, there’s a picture of me — no more than nine years old — with a bowl and sign proclaiming “Mary’s Famous Tuna Salad.” Didn’t know I was so modest, did you? ha ha ha ha!
Before I forget … the disaster cake came, in part, from a wonderful, wonderful book called The Whimsical Bakehouse. I have all three of their books and find them to be just wonderful. If I ever get a chance to type up the recipes, I’d be happy to share them but I can’t even guess when that might happen. Anyway. You can see one of my first TWB creations here, if you’re interested.
My family loves desserts and loves breakfast. Beyond that, it’s sometimes impossible to get everyone to agree on the same meal. There are maybe two vegetables everyone eats. Honey doesn’t care for the combination of meat and anything sweet. My oldest likes pretty much nothing. It certainly makes cooking a less pleasant task, since inevitably someone’s going to be unhappy with what’s put before him/her.
I think that’s what has made tonight’s dinner one of my favorites. Everyone likes it. So much so that we rarely have leftovers, even when I double the recipe. It’s from the April 2008 issue of Cooking Light magazine. Gnocchi with Chicken Sausage, Bell Pepper and Fennel. Kind of surprising that I like it, since I’m not a fan of licorice. And I’m really the only one who eats the pepper. It’s become a regular on our table and I’m hoping no one gets burned out on it, since it’s also fast to prepare. I do omit the parsley and use a chicken-and-apple sausage carried by my local grocery store. On occasion, I use whole wheat gnocchi instead. I can’t tell much of a difference in the flavor, although the boys do — but they still like it. I think you will, too.
Gnocchi with Chicken Sausage, Bell Pepper and Fennel
1 (16-ounce) package vacuum-packed gnocchi (such as Vigo)
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
6 ounces basil, pine nut, and chicken sausage (such as Gerhard’s), casing removed and sliced
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Cook the gnocchi according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain the gnocchi in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Keep gnocchi warm.2. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove sausage from skillet using a slotted spoon.
3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add fennel, bell pepper, and onion to pan; cook 13 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add sausage, gnocchi, cheese, black pepper, and reserved cooking liquid to pan; cook 1 minute or until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)