October 17, 2008

gnocchi with sweet potatoes and chard

Ok, so I know you've all been eagerly waiting for me to unveil the new look and new name for the blog, but I have to tell you that I am still not ready.

And, just as you should never take a cake out of the oven before it's ready, or open a Brunello before its time has come, a blog name is something I feel I just shouldn't rush. It will come to me when it's good and ready and I don't want to mess with that.

Along the same lines, I don't want to rush my Italian trip and put it to rest before it has really had a chance to live out there in the world. On the other hand, I feel the crisp, autumn days slipping away and I love the foods of Fall too much to let them get away without giving them their due. So I'll be sprinkling in the old with the new, getting back on track with posting what I've been cooking in the present, throwing in some of the highlights of my September trip once in a while. Like a good teacher who knows when a subject is putting her students to sleep, I don't want y'all to get bored.

Here is something I made on Wed. just in time to sit down with a glass of wine*, a bowl of warm and comforting food... and feel my skin crawl while that man with little arms winced and whined.

Just as I'm not a big fan of Republicans (that's putting it lightly) I'm not a huge fan of gnocchi. Except for that one I wrote about in my last post on Roman trattorias. But I am a huge fan of all things autumn --like sweet potatoes, pumpkins, butternut squash and swiss chard. I had some sweet potatoes and chard from the Barefoot Farmer and the gnocchi came from a great little shop in Germantown, Lazzaroli's Pasta.

I like to support my local shop owners and Tom is great guy. He stocks all kinds of handmade, fresh pastas, as well as lots of great imported Italian pantry items, plus some salami, pancetta, cheeses and even the tipo "00" flour I needed to make fresh pasta.

I sauteed some garlic and parsley in olive oil, then diced the sweet potatoes very small so they would cook faster, threw them in and coverd the pan to let them sweat. Stirring occasionally, I let them cook just until they were soft.

The gnocchi only take about 2 min. to cook, so I quickly added the chard and some water to the sweet potatoes, covered again until the chard was wilted and loosened the whole thing with a little of the cooking water and a pat of butter, seasoned with salt and pepper, and tossed it all with the gnocchi, adding freshly grated parmigiano last.

It was the easiest thing to make. Much less trouble than most of my pasta sauces and it was hearty and good on a chilly Fall evening. Never mind that the debate was rather tense. When you're armed with gnocchi and red wine, there's not much that can make you feel bad.

*My wine of choice: my new found weeknight favorite: Allegrini Valpolicella


  1. that sounds wonderful
    very autumnal and comforting
    gnocchi... we gotta make it sometime on our own. just for yucks. i gotta ricer and everything... i hear that helps.

  2. That sounds delicious! I'm a fan of the bounty of the fall, though I'm going to miss the local tomatoes.

  3. Yes! Yes! The Allegrini Valpolicella is great for me lately, too.