The Trouble with Dinner
Who's saying what
At one point I found myself loitering in a fruit and veg shop just so I could have a moment to collect myself and sniff the persimmons when the shopkeeper wasn't looking. When I happened upon a bunch of broccoli rabe, pretty as a bouquet of flowers, I actually let out a gleeful, acquisitive squawk, as though I were a seagull and the broccoli was a dropped kebab.
Here is The Thing at its most basic: rip open a packet of absolutely ordinary supermarket gnocchi. Fry them, absolutely uncooked, in olive oil and a lot of garlic and maybe a pinch of nutmeg if you feel like fishing out the jar until they crisp up and brown. Add your preferred leafy green. I've done it with my beloved bagged spinach before, if you don't feel like chopping much. Eat with great handfuls of parmesan. At my house, it usually comes pre-grated in a bag because that is simply how I roll and I've been bludgeoned by tribbles and your mum is.
Don't underestimate the power of The Thing. It scales well, though if I'm doubling I'll usually fry up one batch of gnocchi, set it aside, then do the rest. Everyone likes it. It's my go-to meal if someone is coming by for a quick dinner and, as an aside, can I say we need to start just asking people around for dinner and making easy good things instead of slaving all day? Just putting it out there. Also, TRIBBLES.
And be sure to share your Thing in the comments, the thing you make when you need something delicious and reliable to cure a ridiculous week.
Pan-fried gnocchi with greens
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks. Serves two.
A bunch of greens - I think broccoli rabe is in season now, and it's just delicious if you can find it, but you could really use anything, spinach, chard, silverbeet, kale etc
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Packet of gnocchi
Fat pinch of nutmeg
Red wine vinegar (optional)
If you're of a meat-eating persuasion I imagine you could replace the garlic with some chopped bacon, but I don't so I go with garlic. Heat a generous slug of olive oil in a large pan over high heat. A big cast iron casserole is ideal, but by no means necessary. If you're using bacon, fry that up, then add the gnocchi and nutmeg. If not, throw in the gnocchi. Let it cook for a few minutes, then add the garlic and stir.
Meanwhile, chop your green of choice, removing any tough stems if you're using kale or something similar. Wash thoroughly, and shake off any excess water. Dump right in, and try to fold through the gnocchi as evenly as possible. The steam from the greens will help cook the gnocchi evenly. Toss over high heat until cooked. Taste, and add a little vinegar for acid and sweetness if you think it needs it. Serve immediately with great handfuls of parmesan. Or not, if you're vegan.
Join the conversation below