Gnocchi with White Beans from Taste of Home
We all know the saying “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. This can also be a fairly speedy route to the female heart as well. Staying in and making your date dinner (or making it together) rates high on the romance scale. You get to show off your creativity and appreciation for nuance and details, even if it’s a simple dish. It’s no different from putting an outfit together. That’s what this series is all about. She or he will be left impressed, and you won’t need the skills of Wolfgang Puck.
- Familiar Ingredients: olive oil, onion, garlic, white beans, diced tomato, spinach, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses
- Not So Familiar Ingredients: gnocchi
- Number of Pans/Pots you’ll need to make this dish: One large skillet, unless you plan on making the gnocchi yourself.
First off, here’s how you say it. Got it? Good. I’m sure many of you are familiar with gnocchi (if you’re saying ga-knock-ee in your head go back to the start of this paragraph and click on the link), but if you usually pass over it on the menu at your favorite Italian joint, you’re missing out. Potato gnocchi is really delicious, plus the use of potato cuts down on the wheat flour in this pasta, and adds in a good amount of magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
With the addition of white beans, you get a good amount of fiber and protein in this vegetarian meal. And if the thought of eating a dish without some sort of animal flesh makes you weep, sausage would be very complimentary here. My husband scarfed both the first, and second servings of this dish down, without meat being incorporated, so don’t be scared if you leave it out.
You can substitute the spinach with other greens, like kale or chard, if it’s what you have on hand. Click on the picture for recipe.
This recipe was very easy to make. It takes a little longer if you pan fry the gnocchi, which I get into in the next paragraph, but it’s worth it to add that step. With that step added in it will probably take you about 45 minutes start to finish. If you pan fry the gnocchi (again, do it!), you don’t really need to give the gnocchi the 5-6 minutes to cook in the sauce that the recipe calls for.
Another good thing about this recipe, as far as dinner for a date goes, is that gnocchi is bite size. There’s no slurping of pasta and the risk of sauce splashing on your fancy ratio/clothing shirt. See, I read Dappered too. Do be sure to wear an apron (here’s one for you, hot stuff) while cooking the dish if you’re in your nice clothes. Simmering tomato sauce is the mortal enemy of a crisp white shirt.
Here’s a few quick tips about the ingredients.
Gnocchi – You can find gnocchi in the grocery store, with the other pastas. But if you want to try making some yourself, it’s not that hard. The biggest challenge about it is the time it takes, but the process is fairly easy. You can check out this post I put together on The Pretty Guinea Pig about how to make gnocchi. But here’s a tip I would recommend for any gnocchi, store bought or homemade: pan fry it before you incorporate it into a sauce. Creating a golden brown crust on the gnocchi takes it to a whole new level. Check out the tips I give for pan frying it towards the bottom of my how to make gnocchi post.
Spinach – You don’t have to use spinach if you prefer a different green, like kale or chard. If you like a bitter profile, one of those greens will add a bit of it to the dish. Spinach is a safe bet if you want to keep the flavors mellow. Or you could use a mixture of spinach and baby kale if you want the nutrients from the kale, but aren’t sure if your date would be down with it.
Meat – If you just have to add it, here’s what to do. If you use raw sausage, squeeze it out of it’s casing, break apart, and cook it in the pan until it just starts to brown, then add the onion and keep cooking until the onion is soft. Just continue with the recipe at that point. If you use cooked sausage, slice it into medallions and add towards the end of the cooking with the bean, etc., to heat it up with the rest of the ingredients. This will all make sense once you read the recipe through.
Pan frying the gnocchi takes the flavor profile of this dish to a different level.
Final Note: This dish is fairly light and acidic, so my preference would be to keep the wine on the lighter side. A pinto gris or cab franc would work. But if you like big bold wines, don’t sweat it. Drink what you enjoy! Shot of Jameson with dinner? I got no problem with that.
Sarah is a self proclaimed foodie and regular contributor to theprettyguineapig.com . Four potatoes were harmed in the making of this gnocchi, but she has no regrets. For more MIFYD posts, click here. And if you actually tackle making gnocchi on your own, or have done it before, tell us about it in the comments.