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Food is universal, we all need it to live.
But during times such as these, it can nourish more than just our bodies.
In The Dominion Post’s new Wednesday feature, Quarantine Kitchen, we highlight dishes prepared by readers, staffers and chefs at our local restaurants, in an effort to keep us connected through food.
In our first installment, we give you a dish adapted from a New York Times Cooking recipe that’s become a fast favorite at our enterprise editor Katie McDowell’s house.
“It’s pretty much the perfect meal for quarantine time, because it uses shelf-stable gnocchi and Brussels sprouts, which last forever in the fridge,” McDowell said. “If you don’t have — or don’t like — Brussels sprouts, you can use any veggie you have, really. We’ve made it with asparagus, with peas, and with all three together. You could saute greens and mix them in, throw in some roasted red peppers. Mushrooms would be great, too.”
The original recipe also suggests cauliflower or broccoli as substitutes for the Brussels sprouts.
The thing that makes this dish a bit different, and so good, is the cooking method for the gnocchi — you don’t boil it ahead of time, just saute it in the pan. This way it gets slightly crispy on the outside while staying pillowy inside.
“We love it because it’s so easy and, well, it’s carbs,” McDowell said. “Filling, super yummy and you can make it a bunch of ways.”
McDowell is quick to note that if you don’t have to, don’t leave out the lemon zest, the honey or the crushed red pepper, as they all contribute to the final sweet-acidic-spicy-fatty-starchy thing that makes the dish so tasty.
“We use vegan butter,” McDowell said. “I like Miyoko’s best, but any brand would work just as well as regular butter.”
Top it with freshly shaved, good-quality Parmesan if possible.
PAN-SEARED GNOCCHI WITH ASPARAGUS, PEAS AND/OR BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 package (18 ounces) shelf-stable gnocchi (not frozen)
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed of woody ends
1 bag steam-in-pouch frozen peas, cooked according to instructions
Zest of 1 lemon (save the lemon for something else — don’t waste it!)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (depending how spicy you like things)
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or vegan butter substitute, like Miyoko’s), sliced into 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon honey
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Salt (preferably kosher), to taste
Heat some olive oil in a pan. Once hot, add Brussels sprouts, cut side down, and allow to cook until crisp on that side, about 3-5 minutes. If using asparagus, you’ll saute for about 3-5 minutes or until desired doneness (thinner stalks require less time, thicker stalks a bit longer). Peas only take a minute or so. (If using other veggies, cook them to your desired level of doneness.)
Add the lemon zest and crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste and toss it all together.
In a separate pan, heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Saute gnocchi on medium-high heat with a lid for 4-5 minutes. Flip and go another 2-3 minutes, until slightly brown on the other side. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of butter, cut into small cubes, and about 1/2 teaspoon honey, allowing the butter to brown slightly. Toss to coat evenly. Transfer everything to a large serving bowl and toss together, combining pasta and veggies. Season with more salt and pepper to taste, if necessary. Top with freshly shaved Parmesan.
-Adapted from a recipe published by The New York Times Cooking.