Homemade Gnocchi

4 Dec

Last night, Nick and I planned to have a relaxing evening full of cooking, wine, and Christmas movies.

After our run, we set out to choose what we’d cook up for dinner.  We hemmed and hawed for quite a while, and eventually settled on stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer and homemade gnocchi for our main course.  We made potato gnocchi once before, and it came out a bit more dense than we would’ve liked.  After having looked at a few different recipes, we realized that adding some ricotta might have lightened the little dumplings up a bit.

Nick found a Mario Batali recipe for ricotta gnocchi which had no potato in it.  I was shocked to hear this, but we are such big fans of Batali’s recipes that we had to go for it.  We decided to pair it with homemade vodka sauce, which we made using a recipe from Giada  DeLaurentiis.

Once we had our grocery shopping done, we got to work!

I made a batch of stuffed mushrooms using a recipe that my aunt gave me years ago (which I think may have been adapted from Julia Child’s cookbook).

The Recipe

*I have no measurements for this recipe, and just eyeball the ingredients based on the number of ‘shrooms I want to stuff

  • Finely chop onion and garlic and sautee in butter and oil until soft
  • Remove stems from mushroom caps and chop stems
  • Add mushroom stems to the sautee
  • Once all are soft, begin to slowly add breadcrumbs as well as parsley, parmesan cheese and salt.  Make sure you add more butter at this time!
  • You may also need to add some water to ensure that the crumbs don’t get too dry
  • Once the mixture reaches your desired consistency (I look for well blended and slightly wet) remove from heat and stuff caps
  • Bake caps for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven
  • Enjoy!
We enjoyed our mushrooms with some Goose Island Christmas Ale, which was really delicious!
After our appetizer, Nick got to work on the gnocchi.  I kid you not, I came into my “office” to do some stuff on the computer, and when I walked out 20 minutes later, this is what I found.
They took no time at all to make!
The sauce took a bit more time since it had to simmer for an hour before adding the vodka and cream.  But if you used store bought tomato sauce, this would be one of the fastest dinners ever!
Finally, after much anticipation, it was time to sit down to a delicious homemade dinner!
We also made some garlic bread with a rosemary loaf that we ordered from Panes.
The gnocchi were light and fluffy, and the sauce was really tasty.
I was actually really surprised by the bite the vodka gave to the sauce.  I honestly have never tasted such “strong” vodka sauce in a restaurant, and am wondering if they are required to burn the liquor off more in commercial settings.  Either way, I really enjoyed this variation!
After dinner, I made some heart shaped cookies to say “thanks” for such a yummy meal.  These were paired with freshly whipped cream that was spiked with chocolate extract.
It tasted like we were dipping our cookies into whipped chocolate milk.  So good!  The whipped cream totally made up for the fact that I burned the edges of the cookies 😉  Along with our dinner, we also watched Love Actually, one of our favorite Christmas movies.
Seriously, does it get any better than Hugh Grant dancing and Colin Firth being adorable?  I think not.  (This is why Nick loves the movie too, I’m sure).
This Morning
This morning when I woke up, I decided to take a little time to relax before tackling the day.  So, I made myself a cup of peppermint tea.
I brought my tea back into bed and enjoyed it while reading my newest book, Drowning Ruth.
If you are looking for a good book to read, I highly recommend this one. I haven’t wanted to put it down!
Once Izzie hopped out of bed, I knew it was time to get her out and head over to the gym for a little sweat session.
I rode the bike for 45 minutes, but didn’t really push too hard.  I wanted to give my legs a little rest after my run yesterday, and I was also busy reading about how Kim’s plan to use her wedding/divorce to boost ratings is blowing up in her face.  It’s impossible to bike hard when you are engrossed in Life & Style!
Now it’s time to relax and hope that the rest of Sunday takes forever to pass!

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