This was my lovely, lazy, farmers’ market dinner tonight and it was so simple and delicious that I had to post about it. I’m not sure it even counts as a recipe, because it’s seriously too easy for words – I didn’t even make the gnocchi! – and has about four ingredients. It’s more of an idea than anything else. But it’s a very good idea…
Your Shopping List (this is a meal for 2 people)40 g butter, unsalted 1 tablespoon of olive oil. I never said that this was a low-fat recipe. 500 g beetroot gnocchi. You can make these yourself, but if you are a Melburnian, I recommend hunting down Take Me Home Pastas at a farmers’ market and buying some from them. 1 bunch of sprouting broccoli, or a head of ordinary broccoli smoked licorice salt, or smoked salt, or just salt black pepper fresh parmesan cheese
Now what will you do with it?
Melt the butter in a wide frying pan over medium-high heat. I never cook with butter but this is an exception – if you find yourself feeling excessively guilty over it, channel your inner George Columbaris and you will quickly realise that 40 grams of butter is a paltry amount, really.
Add the gnocchi to the pan and fry, stirring fairly often, though you do want them to have the chance to get a bit crusty and gorgeous from the butter, so don’t keep them moving constantly. Instead, use this time to prepare your broccoli.
For sprouting broccoli, chop off the very end of the stem, and then just chop it up, leaves, stems and all, into small pieces. If you are using a whole broccoli head, peel the stalk, chop off the bottom inch or so, and then dice the stem, before dividing the broccoli into florets. Add it to the pan and stir around for a minute or two, until it is bright green and gorgeous.
Add salt and pepper to taste. You could serve it right now, with a little parmesan sprinkled over it, or, if you are preparing another dish to go with it, shave some parmesan over the top using a vegetable peeler, and stick it under the grill for a minute or two so that it can melt.
Serve. If you have no shame, add more parmesan. If you have no shame and the good luck to have some of Rita’s crumbed artichokes in the fridge, serve with some of those, too, though that really is decadent.
Eat, taking care to note the rich fuchsia and pillow-like softness of the gnocchi, the emerald green crunchiness of the broccoli, and the decadent butteriness of the whole thing.
My, that was a good dinner. And do you know what? I get to have slow-roasted peach and blueberry pie for dessert. Because the sun is returning, and, more importantly, the fruit-growers at the farmers’ market make and freeze a lot of peach pies at the end of summer…
Why mess with perfection? Well, OK, any kind of gnocchi will work here – plain, pumpkin, nettle, etc. You might want to vary your veg, though. With beetroot, I think baby kale would also be nice. With plain, you could use just about anything – cherry tomatoes and basil in summer; roasted pumpkin or mushrooms in winter, or broccoli, for that matter; broad beans or asparagus and mint in the spring. Treat this as a chance to highlight whatever vegetable you have that is really lovely and flavourful and fresh right now. I am so going to be making this my farmers’ market dinner for nights when I’m tired from now on.
In terms of dietary requirements, this is vegetarian and nut-free, of course. It’s going to be as gluten-free and egg-free as your gnocchi – which, in this case, means that it does actually contain gluten and egg (though I gather Take Me Home are working on a line of gluten-free pastas, so stay tuned for that). For the fructose-avoidant, a wheat-free gnocchi should make this suitable, unless you have trouble with fructans as well, in which case the broccoli will do you no good at all.
To veganise this, you would again want to check that you are getting eggless gnocchi, though these are not hard to find. You could go all olive oil instead of butter, however if you have a good dairy-free margarine, I’d be tempted to use that, because the buttery flavour really is a big part of the fun. Use toasted pine-nuts instead of your parmesan at the end for a bit of salty crunch and protein.
So much deliciousness…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Two years ago: Midwinter Oranges, Addendum