Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Gnocchi alla Puttanesca

Earlier in the summer I made a batch of ricotta gnocchi that turned out well enough for me to attempt it a second time. There are several steps which make this dish a labor of love, however, one well-worth the effort. This time, I paired the tender dumplings with a tomato-based sauce.

We had some home-made sauce in the freezer, from Mario Batali's basic recipe. It was good, but I wanted to give it some oompfh. I checked the fridge for inspiration and found a bunch of odds and ends that could turn the plain tomato sauce into a salsa puttanesca: seven olives left over from a trip to the Superfresh olive bar; a jar of sweet and hot pepper rings; a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, a few wilting scallions. I chopped up the olives and scallions along with a small handful of peppers and artichokes, and sautéed them with a few tablespoons of chopped onions and mushrooms. I added this mixture to the sauce, along with a dribble of balsamic vinegar and some honey, and voila! Something chunky and interesting and quite delicious, especially over the bland and milky gnocchi.

It was hard to stop eating this dish. I just wish we had a nice crusty loaf of bread to go with.