i am not a spontaneous person.
90% of the time when i set out to make a dish, i do mental preparation. at the least, i research existing recipes. at the most, i research technique, ingredient pairings, make and remake shopping lists. then spend way too much time at the grocery store buying shit i don’t need. but that’s another story.
70% of the time out of that 90%, the dish never turns out how i imagined.
i inTENDED to do a baked broccoli rabe and italian sausage casserole-like dish. in a basil-y tomato sauce. mmm.. perhaps with some ricotta and melted mozzarella on top. then i realized i don’t have a casserole dish and my le creuset doens’t come in until next week (and a week is so sO long when waiting for a le creuset…). so i decided perhaps i’ll do a cavetelli or ricotta gnocchi and screw the whole low carb business. but sadly enough whole foods HAD no ricotta gnocchi. or cavetelli. OR basil (wtf man.). so i got basil gnocchi. ok. fine. good compromise. but thEN i remembered i don’t even LIKE italian sausage. so i got me some seitan with italian seasoning. (if i’m gonna be eating carbs tonight, might as well cut back somewhere else, right?)
this was the result.
- 1 pack frozen gnocchi *
- large batch of broccoli rabe/chinese broccoli**
- 1 pack (8 0z) of italian seasoned seitan.
- 1 can tomato sauce (pre-seasoned)
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1/3 cup of milk
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbs sugar
- thyme, parsley (optional)
- comte cheese* **
*shelf kind is powdery and gross.
**6 inch diameter, or roughly 25 small individual stalks. keep in mind, less flowering = less bitter. so says Mother Chen. i hack off the stems. leaves have more nutrition anyway.
***or whatever cheese floats your boat. but i find parmesan does not melt very well…i like comte because the nutty, slightly sweet flavor offsets the bitterness of broccoli rabe and the acidity of the tomatoes.
- dice tomatoes and mince garlic
- if using sausage, remove from casing
- pan fry sausage in some olive oil, making sure to break up the pieces evenly.
- add tomatoes, sauce, garlic, stir and simmer until tomatoes disintegrate.
- wash broccoli. cut off stems and chop leaves so no piece is larger than ~ 3 inch
- blanch for 1 – 2 min until just wilting. remove into ice bath.
- check on sauce. add milk and sugar. stir and continue simmering.
- re-boil the water and cook gnocchi as per package instructions.
- drain broccoli and stir into sauce.
- salt to taste. add more milk/chicken stock if sauce is too thick. add any other seasonings you like. (i added thyme and parsley)
- plate sauce and grate on a generous topping of cheese. i mean like melting all over the place. this is not a garnish, folks.
- top with gnocchi.
- serve and EAT.
the gnocchi is kinda grey and ugly, but it tasted nice and basil-y! i think i would’ve been happier with a lighter, fluffier ricotta gnocchi. guess i’ll have to make some from scratch next time. you knoW… i DID find a rather promising recipe… perhaps i’ll start planning take II.