Gnocchin’ On Heaven’s Door

I am so much happier than I was a few days ago. Yesterday’s enthusiastic digging and planting filled me with the thrill of food season. From this point on, there’s going to be something worth eating within steps of my door every day. To start, it’s all the roots that slumbered underground in the garden all winter that I can now ravage lasciviously to serve my gustatory whims. And soon enough, ramps, nettles, and garlic mustard are going to make the mistake of sticking their necks out far enough for me to cut them off. The herb garden is already stirring.

Today I had one of those crystal clear hankerings around mid-afternoon that I have learned well not to ignore if I want my dinner to be good. To wit: red potatoes in the pantry, and still a jar of tomato purée from last summer. And guanciale, ever guanciale, in the fridge. I have to get more jowls and cure a couple more so there’s no danger whatsoever of running out.

It couldn’t have been simpler; I had dinner ready half an hour early. Peel, steam, and mash the potatoes. Cool them a bit. Add a couple of egg yolks (whites make gnocchi stiff and rubbery) and enough flour so it’s not sticky, plus some salt and pepper (pink, in this case). Mash it all over again. Flour the counter and roll out snakes, cutting them into 1″ pieces. Roll them along the back of a fork for ridges if that’s how you live your life. Toss them in water and scoop them out when they float. Sauce them with slow-cooked guanciale, garlic, pepperoncini, herbs, tomato purée, and a splash of wine that bubbled low until it got seriously thick. Garnish with parsley and a dribble of good truffle oil. Drink wine. Bask in the glory of non-radioactive life.

Seriously, the pillowy soft gnocchi (again, NO WHITES) with the deep, sweet/tangy/porky/spicy/umamitudinous sauce were a wonder to consume. Picture Axl Rose, and then picture his opposite. That was this plate of food.

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  1. March 16

    You are killing me!!! Our septic tank just pooped out on us (pun intended) when I was mid several loads of laundry and left me with a kitchen full of dirty dishes I was just about to tackle…So instead of the tasted rosemary lamb I was planning for dinner, we are getting take out. But these are the easiest directions for making gnocchi I’ve ever seen. Will definitely be trying in the next few days!!!

    • March 16

      That was supposed to be “tasty” rosemary lamb. I did just enjoy a delicious ripe avocado and am washing it down with a Firestone DBA…so that’s good at least!

  2. Peter
    March 16

    I’m sorry to hear about the septic. That sucks. I just edited the post to include flour, which is important. Use as little as you can get away with, though. I have some pictures of rosemary-crusted lamb chops I made a while ago that I’ll post tomorrow if that makes you feel better.

  3. March 17

    Well, the plumber came and good things may come of this! We may get a separate gray water tank that we can use for watering all our plants! That will save us LOADS of water, especially in the summer.

    Food porn is always appreciated! 🙂

  4. March 17

    Wow, these look great, better than great actually! Rockin’. And I love your titles.

  5. You are very lucky to have a garden… the down side of the big city is no garden! Didn’t stop me though… got costmary seeds since I just have to see what it tastes like (Romans loved the stuff). Will let you know…. hmmm, costmary in the sauce for these lovely gnocchi??? Good tip about the egg yolk. The first time I made this… well we all called them death balls. It took me 15 years to try them again.

  6. Peter
    March 17

    Mo: That’s great. Everyone should have a gray water tank.

    Nicole: I forgot to give you credit for reminding me to make gnocchi again.

    Deana: I’m ordering them too- it’s exciting.

  7. March 17

    i love gnocchi. this post was very very funny. that’s about all i have to say to you because i’ve become a bit of a bore.

  8. March 18

    Brilliant title! Do these ideas just come to you or do you have to think hard?

  9. March 18

    Fucking gnocchi. I have had it a grand total of TWICE where it’s been made well. Both at Frank Bonnano’s restaurants in Denver. Otherwise, I’ve had bad luck with it, so I’ve been too chicken shit to try it myself. Soon. Soooooooon.

  10. Peter
    March 18

    Claudia: What? Sorry, I dozed off.

    Zoomie: Words are always rattling around in my head.

    Kristie: Be afraid. Be very afraid. If you make them wrong, you could die.

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