Meet one of my favourite sides! This is soooo good. Yes, it has mozzarella and parmesan cheeses in it but it also has fresh cherry tomatoes, spinach and butter/cannellini beans so it both tastes and feels pretty good and virtuous to eat!
We tend to serve this with a gorgeous meaty tuna steak or a piece of salmon that’s been cooked in a griddle pan with nothing more than some black pepper and a little lemon or lime juice. It goes so well with fish because of the flavours it has going on. If you’re not a fish lover try it with a lean pork steak or griddled chicken breast. If you don’t eat meat at all, don’t worry it’s more than delicious and substantial enough on its own!
Gnocchi are funny little potato…. dumplings? For a long time I had heard the name but wasn’t sure what they actually were! As luck would have it, one day – quite a few years ago now, I saw some in the supermarket. They seemed fairly innocent so I picked up a couple of packets and hastened home to Google what on earth to do with them.
I found a recipe for Gnocchi Bolognese which seemed easy and non-threatening (I wasn’t very brave at the beginning) and decided to give it a go one evening. That was our first experience of gnocchi and we’ve liked them – and eaten them regularly in various formats – ever since.
Now for the obligatory part about flexibility – yes I know I can be a bit predictable but part of my lifestyle with my Meniere’s Disease means flexibility is absolutely essential in…well, everything really!
If you find you don’t have something for a recipe, you just run out to the shop and grab it, right? Well 60% (or more) of the time, I can’t do that. If this happens and Kieran is working so I can’t get him to go to the shop for me then I have to make do with what we have. Hence, I automatically think FLEXIBLE when creating recipes.
So anyway, the recipe. You can use butter beans or cannellini beans – I’ve used both and they work well. I haven’t really messed about that much with this other than the beans and experimentation with quantities during recipe polishing but I think it could probably stand up to some swapping in and out of different veggies.
One thing I will mention here is that I always use no-alcohol substitutes in everything. I don’t drink alcohol at all because, quite frankly, at times my vertigo makes me feel like I’m stumbling around drunk and I don’t need that amplified! So when we cook with “alcohol” it’s always no-alcohol – but obviously you can sub the real thing because…..altogether now…..flexibility!
Alcohol-free alcohol was a revelation for me as a cook. I DID drink before the Meniere’s. Obviously I had to stop but thought that it couldn’t hurt to keep using a bit of the real stuff when cooking. I was wrong. After using real Amaretto in a tiramisu I found it hit me – HARD! But thanks to the advent of the ever more inclusive food and drink culture, it’s no longer a big thing.
If you don’t drink or just don’t like using alcohol in cooking but want the flavours, you can see the alcohol-free white wine I use (or something very like it) here. Also, just have a look around in supermarkets and online – there’s quite a big selection out there and while some of the alcohol free substitutes can be a bit naff if you’re looking for something to actually have a glass of, they are perfectly fine to use in cooking and you would never know the difference!
So as always please do let me know what you think, what you served the baked gnocchi with or any changes or substitutions you made in the comments or by using the contact me form on the site. Enjoy! DDxPrint