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.