Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hearty, Pan Seared Gnocchi

In my family, we have a lot of meat-eaters. And when I say meat-eaters, I think you know what I am talking about...MEN. It is NOT ACCEPTABLE to have a meal without meat! So, when I went off to college and started cooking without meat (as it is expensive, and for some reason girls don't have a bodily need for the substance), my father and brother were aghast! And even now, my fiance is aghast when I try to cook without meat. 

So here's my ode to meat! Something pretty simple to cook up, but also pretty beautifully meaty and hearty. We've got crispy mini pork meatballs, beautiful, soft, Italian potato dumplings, asparagus (because green is a necessity in my cooking), and of course--bacon. Tell me what you think.

The Recipe:

1lb. ground pork (such as Jimmy Dean)--make sure it's got fat in it
1/2 package of bacon, diced
1 vidalia onion
2 cloves of garlic (BIGGUNS!)
2 tsp. butter
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1/3 cup Marsala wine/chicken stock
3/4 cup chopped asparagus
1 lb. mini gnocchi (find it in the pasta section, the mini ones cook easier in this dish)
SALT--to taste

Set a medium pan over medium heat. take ground up sausage meat, roll it into balls and toss them into the hot pan.

At the same time, chop one vidalia onion and 2 cloves of garlic and toss them into a large pan that is over medium heat. Wait until the pan is hot, add in a tablespoon of butter, and after it begins to sizzle and melt, add in the onion. After the onion softens a bit, put in 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves. Continue to cook until golden brown and soft.

Do not immediately toss the sausage meatballs...let them have a chance to brown up on the bottoms and use a spatula to get underneath them and flip them all over after a few minutes.

Once they are brown on all sides, add in half a package of bacon, chopped into small pieces using kitchen scissors. continue to cook down until the meatballs are no longer pink in the middle and the bacon is cooked.

Place all of the meat on a paper towel to soak up the grease and pour off all that is left in the pan except about 1 tablespoon.

Meanwhile, once the onions are soft, turn up the heat to medium-high. When you hear the pan begin to sizzle, pour in 1/3 cup of marsala wine (or chicken stock for all of ya'll under age ;) and let it bubble away for a minute until mostly dissolved and turn the heat back down to low.

Add in 3/4 cup of chopped asparagus.


pour 1 package of mini gnocchi (1lb) into the hot pan that the sausage just came out of. using a spatula, continually scrape the bottom of the pan so as to prevent them from getting stuck. Add in more of the fat if necessary. cook them like this for about 2 minutes, they should still be somewhat firm.  


Combine everything back together in the large pan with the onions. Turn up the heat to medium and toss it well. Taste, and add salt as necessary. Make sure the gnocchi are soft to the bite.    



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