Once upon a time, Randy and I were dating. Once upon a time, I tried to dazzle him with my cooking, my yoga practice, my singing, and my smarts. These days, my yoga practice has fallen by the wayside (not for long!), my singing consists of endless renditions of “The Wheels on the Bus” and “C is for Cookie”, and my smarts…well, have you heard of mommy brain?
I do still try to wow him with my cooking though. Fortunately, I am a good cook and he is easily impressed. Every time I make this gnocchi dish, I think of the first time I made it for my then boyfriend and now husband. In a foreshadowing of how I would eventually conduct my personal chef business, I made most of the dish at home and brought it over to his house to finish it off. I hauled in a baking sheet covered in flour and my first attempt at gnocchi (a favorite of his). Separately, I brought over a sauce containing shiitake mushrooms (another of his favorites), and lots of sage. I cooked up the gnocchi and placed them directly in the sauce, followed by arugula and a healthy handful of Parmesan cheese. Delicious.
That was the first of many times that I made this dish, but the last time I made my own gnocchi. In my mind, food is separated into three categories. There is the “you can certainly buy, but you really should make yourself” category. Things like salad dressing, marinara sauce, cookies and ice cream reside here. There is the “you can certainly make yourself, but it’s OK to buy” category. Things like artisanal bread and salsa live here. Then there is the “oh, just buy it” category. I put jam, puff pastry, and yes, gnocchi in that one. Store-bought gnocchi has the right texture for me and it stores almost indefinitely in the pantry. If you are the type who puts gnocchi in the “make it yourself” category, please be my guest and use your favorite recipe with this delicious sauce.
Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appetit
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
1/2 cup sliced shallots
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
3 cups arugula, chopped if leaves are large
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 pound potato gnocchi
Cook butter and olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat until butter begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and shallots and saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add stock and sage; simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add gnocchi and cook until most of them float to the surface, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the cooked gnocchi directly to the pan with the sauce. Add arugula and stir until wilted. Sprinkle with cheese and stir to combine. Serve in shallow bowls with additional Parmesan.