Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gnocchi with Olives

So after the 4th consecutive week of 65+ hours of work and a Saturday where I had to miss a good friends baby shower to work, I treated myself to a date Saturday night...with myself.  Raymond had a poker night for one of his friends birthday's so I did what I would think any wife would do...assume he would win and go shoe shopping!!  :-D  Then I treated myself to a nice long bath, some delicious French cheese, plenty of wine, chick flicks that I wouldn't subject Raymond to, though he may argue that I've subjected him to worse, and one amazing dinner.

Almost a year ago, right after we got engaged, we went to Houston so I could run a half marathon.  One of my cousin's, whom I get to see way too little of, picked us up and took us to dinner at this really good tiny Italian restaurant.  I had a hard time deciding what to get, so Raymond ordered me both entrees.  One day, I'm sure, I won't get everything I want.  :-)  One of my entrees was definitely the wrong choice...but the other one was fantastic!  I immediately made both the guys try some, even though Raymond doesn't like olives, and I have been dreaming about making it ever since.

I took a few short-cuts, used canned tomatoes and packaged gnocchi, which made this a super easy meal with very little hands-on time.  I know it's only February, but this will most likely be one of my favorite meals of the year! 

1 shallot, diced
1/3 red bell pepper, diced
4 oz capocolla or pancetta, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup green olives, cut in half
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbs Italian Seasoning
1 package Gnocchi
1 1/2 tbs olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp salt, +/- to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, +/- to taste


Saute shallots, red pepper, and capocolla in 1/2 tbs olive oil for 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes or until fragrant.  Add tomatoes.  I used one can of regular diced tomatoes, and one can of fire roasted diced tomatoes which I feel also really boosted the flavor, though I would not think it absolutely necessary to use if you don't have any.  Simmer for 10 minutes, slightly mashing tomatoes. 

Add olives, Italian seasonings, and red pepper flakes and simmer for another 30 minutes. 

Add salt and pepper. 

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat.  Add gnocchi and let cook for about 5 minutes without touching, then flip and continue to cook until gnocchi has browned on all sides.

Add gnocchi to the tomato mixture and stir until coated. 

Dish out and sprinkle with Parmesan. 

This pairs wonderfully with a light red wine, a crisp white wine, or even a champagne.  :-)

Amanda's Tips:
You can easily leave out the capocolla or pancetta to make this a vegitarian dish.  You may just want to add a bit more salt.