Thursday, May 2, 2013

Saucy Baked Gnocchi...Got Wood?!

May....  Where did YOU come from?!  Doesn't matter.. you're here.  Spring is "here", kinda.  Snow is melting (in most places), and technically we're "between" seasons... no more sledding... yet a lil' early for the endless summer days floatin' on the water. *sigh* It's time to GET WOOD.  HA... okok... giggle away!  But it's true!  Seems like my life these days is all about wood... and I mean the big tall ones that grow in abundance in our beautiful province.  SO, spending a "spring" day outside, stocking up on what fuels those evenings outside round' a fire, or warms the inside of the cabin during those chilly winter nights requires a good and hearty meal to satisfy even the most hungry wanna-be-lumberjack-for-a-day. The entree for this job: Saucy Baked Gnocchi. Perfect potato dumplings baked with freshly chopped spinach, lean hot capicola, diced pancetta and ooey gooey melted mozzarella cheese all surrounded and baked in your favorite pasta sauce.  YUM YUM is right. 
 
SO, things you need to know.  rather ... I needed to know.... There is a preferred species of tree that many people have when planning to burn inside a wood burning stove. (that's how we heat the place up at the lake). Fact: Many people don't SPELL this species of tree correct. Fact: it's not even a true FIR tree....  YUP.... I'm talking about Douglas fir  also known as Pseudotsuga menziesii as (and yes... I did just spell that correctly.. google it if you must!) :)  Chainsaws, beer, and heading out on some good old fun forestry roads.  My kind of a spring day!  
Usually, we look for the ones that already are on the ground... not green.. and just begging to be chopped up. (ie.. not too far from the road, not too wet, but still fun to get)...  It's "easy" then... trim it to a size you can drag closer to the road, drag, then cut to a predetermined size, load up truck.  repeat.  (maybe toss back a wobbly pop or 2 somewhere in there)
Then there's the time when I guess "boys will be boys" ... though I admit, I kinda liked it too... OR... there's just no Douglas fir laying around.... then ya get to play lumber jack... carefully might I add... please kids.. don't try this at home. lol  
And yes...  this tree was already "dead", just happened to be still standing.  We do not chop down "green" trees.  (just sayin'!)

Of course...after a long day out in the woods... the appetite is huge.... This dish is a perfect way to satisfy, it's easy to make, and the variations are endless in what actually goes IN the baked dish.  I used what I happened to have on hand... hmm... wonder what YOU can come up with?!
Saucy Baked Gnocchi
  • 1 package of  mini gnocchi (or make your own... you decide!)
  • 1 cup diced pancetta
  • 5 slices of extra lean hot capacola salami
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Boil pot of water, and cook gnocchi, stirring occasionally, until they start to float
- In small sauce pan, cook pancetta until crispy, remove from heat and place in small bowl, reserving some of the drippings
- Dice up capacola slices, and place in small sauce pan with reserved drippings.  Fry until a little crispy.
- Drain water from gnocchi and toss in the spinach, pancetta, and salami
- Pour in half of the jar of pasta sauce, and half of the shredded mozzarella cheese.  Toss well.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Divide gnocchi mixture into 4 oven safe serving bowls
- Pour remaining sauce over top of each bowl, and top with remaining shredded cheese
- Place bowls on a cookie sheet, and put in oven until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted and golden. (about 20 - 25 mins)
- Remove from oven... and enjoy!!!

Now, if you don't have pancetta or salami... maybe toss in some cooked ground beef... or cooked diced chicken.. or even some peppers, mushrooms or really whatever you would typically toss in with a pasta... it could work. 

Here's a pic of the outcome of some of our efforts.....  Happy Men... standing in front of the loot!!
Got Wood?!?

1 comment:

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