For the first two years of writing this blog, I didn't have a proper kitchen. I churned out all my meals using nothing more than a small toaster oven (just big enough to roast a chook, if you spatchcocked it first), a single hot plate, a Breville benchtop grill, a crockpot, and a kitchen bench the size of a postage stamp (does anyone remember those?). Of necessity then, I became the self-proclaimed queen of the "one pan wonder", and a quick and simple one pan meal is still my benchmark of the ideal mid-week dinner.
At I Heart Cooking Clubs this week, we're all about "weeknight favourites", cooking up Nigel Slater dishes that are perfect for those nights when you have neither the time nor the inclination to come up with anything other than something simple and fuss-free.
Leafing through "Tender, Vol I, A cook and his vegetable patch", a simple dish of gnocchi with spinach, cheese and cream looked promising. It didn't hurt either that the recipe was titled "A filling, carb-rich supper for a winter's evening". Seriously, how inviting does that sound, and let's face it, who of us doesn't like to load up on a few carbs on a chilly autumn evening?! And, although I rarely go in for creamy pasta sauces, once in a while a serving of those aforementioned carbs smothered in cream and cheese is a delightful thing.
As is my usual bent, I did make a few minor changes to the recipe. Firstly, I added some chorizo because, well ... if you're going to have all that pasta and cream and cheese, you might as well throw all calorie-counting caution to the wind and throw a bit of sausage into the mix. I also simplified the cooking process a bit. Nigel firstly has you pre-boil vacuum-packed gnocchi in one pan of water, and steam the spinach in another pan, then assemble all the ingredients and cook them in another dish. I say "fiddle-dee-dee" to all of that - I was pretty confident I could do all of this in one pan, and I think I pulled it off. Fear not, between a bit of time hanging out in a saute pan and then half an hour baking in the oven, with plenty of liquid, the gnocchi will cook perfectly well without needing to be boiled first. I didn't have as much cream on hand as was called for in the recipe, but I did have some creme fraiche, so I changed things up a bit there. Lastly, I used quite a bit less blue cheese than called for and found the amount that I used to be more than enough. Nigel says, that this makes two servings. Personally, I found that this was pretty rich and satisfying and with a bit of salad on the side this made three decent sized portions - and, honestly, I have a pretty voracious appetite, so if I say you can feed three out of this you can believe it. I really do recommend a simple but fresh salad to go with this, as it will help to cut through the richness of all that cheese and cream.
This is definitely not the kind of dish I would eat on a regular basis, but, like an itch that needs to be scratched, every once in a while nothing less than something so decadent and deeply satisfying will do.
Gnocchi with Chorizo, Gorgonzola & Spinach recipe
Adapted from recipe by Nigel Slater
from Tender, Vol I
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
1x chorizo sausage - about 110g (4oz), thinly sliced
500g (1 lb) vacuum packed gnocchi (I use De Cecco)
200g (7 oz) creme fraiche
1/2 cup cream
150g (5 oz) baby spinach leaves
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
100g (3-1/2 oz) Gorgonzola (or blue cheese of your choice), crumbled
freshly grated Parmesan, plenty of
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (390 degrees F).
Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof saute pan over medium heat. Add chorizo to the pan and saute until golden and beginning to crisp. Add gnocchi to the pan, and saute until the gnocchi are coated in the oils released from the chorizo (there's loads of spices and flavour in that oil), and beginning to brown a little. Add cream and creme fraiche to the pan, and stir until the creme fraiche is melted and bubbling. Remove from heat, season with flaky sea salt (not too much as the blue cheese will be salty) and freshly black pepper, add spinach and stir until the spinach is evenly distributed and wilted. Add Gorgonzola to the pan, and poke it into the crevices around the gnocchi. Grate Parmesan cheese liberally over the top.
Place pan in the preheated oven and bake until bubbling and golden - about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
If you would like to get to know Nigel Slater a little better, and to see what everyone else has cooked up this week, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links ...
... or check out Tender, Vol. 1 and Nigel's many other great titles available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, or Fishpond NZ.
I'll also be sharing this post this week at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the delightful Michelle at Ms. enPlace, at Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads, at Foodie Fridays hosted by Designs by Gollum, and at Cook Your Books hosted by the lovely Joyce at Kitchen Flavours.
This looks like the perfect dinner when winter is beginning to weigh you down. YummmmReplyDelete
Thanks, Beth - it's definitely a good cure-all for the "winter blues" I think :-)Delete
This is my kind of dish. I always go for the creamy pasta sauces...and carbs in general. And to do it all in one pan (meaning not a lot of dishes to wash) is something I'm apt to go for as well. Love your addition of chorizo (and your reasoning behind it--which is a very solid one).ReplyDelete
Thank you for linking, Sue!Delete
I think you'd really enjoy this dish, Michelle. Being able to minimise the wash-up and pull this off in one pan is an added bonus.Delete
Nigel's description of the dish does make it sound very inviting, and your photos even more so. I've never had much success baking uncooked pasta, even with quite a bit of liquid; I think it's time to give it another try.ReplyDelete
Thanks for stopping by, Zosia. I wouldn't try baking any other pasta uncooked, but gnocchi is reallyt only a two to three minute cook and it seems to work ok without pre-cooking.Delete
Yum, I feel like gnocchi now! I haven't made them for a while, need to find the right Agria potatoes, but maybe I'll just buy some ready made too, the De Cecco are good.ReplyDelete
I haven't made gnocchi for ages either, but I agree the De Cecco ones are pretty good and I nearly always have a packet of them on hand for quick and simple dinners. I'm interested to know if you would pre-cook them before baking in a dish like this?Delete
Your gorgeous photo makes me want to dig right in! It looks really delicious, and I'm with you with the chorizo, might as well go all the way sinfully delicious!
I would welcome this dish anytime, not only in chilly evenings!
Thank you so much, Joyce. Definitely no point in holding back with all that cheesy, creamy decadence going on.Delete
Yes! All my favourite ingredients: Chorizo, blue cheese and spinach, I likeReplyDelete
Thanks, Ulrike. It's a great combination of ingredients :-)Delete
I love the combo of flavours in this delicious and hearty dish. Mouthwatering clicks, Sue.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Angie, and thanks for visiting again xoDelete
It looks delicious and so easy to make, definitely a perfect weeknight meal!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Roxy - If it wasn't for the fact that this is so creamy and rich, I would have this on a regular weekly rotation :-)Delete
Amazing yet again <3ReplyDelete
Thanks, Janneke, and thanks for stopping by :-)Delete
I am always a fan of cheesy indulgences every so often--it's good for the soul. This looks like a creamy, cheesy wonder. Plus, since it has spinach, it's really almost a health food! Hah! ;-)ReplyDelete
Definitely great for the soul, and health food angle is a great one, Deb - don't know how I missed that :-)Delete
I don't have that book of Nigel's yet but I sure want a copy. Hey, maybe for my birthday I should drop a hint!ReplyDelete
That's interesting what you wrote about how you didn't have a proper kitchen yet, you always turn out amazing meals. Pretty ones too, like this one! I can't eat gnocchi but the rest of it sounds mighty good.
Thanks, Tina, that's very kind. You definitely need this book - it's a goodie - putting it on your birthday wish list is a very good idea.Delete
I am in love with chorizo at the moment. What a great idea to pair it with pasta and gorgonzola.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Sam. Actually, I have a permanent love affair with chorizo :-) I'm always looking for things that I can put it into.Delete
There is something about chorizo that just calls my name. I eat mostly vegetarian, but not when I see something like this. Another great Nigel Slater recipe.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Cheri. I eat mostly vegetarian too, but I find it hard to exercise that resolve when there is chorizo around :-)Delete