Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Did It All for the Gnocchi: Rosemary Gnocchi Stew
It all started out with a craving for my grandmother’s chicken & dumplings. She’s been gone for over 20 years, but there are still some dishes she cooked that I can’t get enough of. Various family members picked up the secrets to several of her prized recipes (I’m the only one who can reproduce her biscuits), but no one ever learned the secret to her chicken & dumplings. I’ve tried to mimic the dish multiple times over the years. I get close, but not close enough. Isn’t it strange how that works sometimes?
I wasn’t in the mood to fall short of my craving this time, so I decided to twist everything and come up with my own unique dish. Chicken was out – I wanted to start my own tradition – so I ended up with ground beef meatballs. They become incredibly tender after simmering for so long, and are full of flavor.
The dumplings were a little more difficult. I was tempted to leave them plain and pour all the flavor into the thick, luscious broth, but my second idea turned out to be the better choice: I loaded the dumplings with the sharp taste of rosemary and thyme. It turned out to be the perfect balance to the meatballs.
Let me make this confession – I guess they aren’t technically gnocchi. They consist of flour, eggs, and broth without the potatoes. But the translation for 'gnocchi' is 'dumpling' (thank you internet), so I stretched it a little. Besides, gnocchi stew sounds a little more sophisticated than dumpling stew. So I beg the forgiveness of you Italian purists and ask that you cut me a little slack.
After the whole thing simmers for an hour or two, there’s no way that it can’t be good. And to make a stab at eating healthy, I threw in a handful of peas at the last minute.
When it was finished, I knew I had to share this one - the taste is out of this world! I called up a couple of friends for an impromptu dinner party. The verdict was unanimous; the gnocchi stew is a new favorite all the way around.
So even if you have to turn down the A/C to make this one – do it for the gnocchi.
Recipe: Rosemary Gnocchi Stew