Julianne and I met each other for the first time on this day three years ago. A special day calls for a special pasta. It doesn’t mean it has to be really complex. It took more time to cut things up than it did to actually make the sauce and pasta. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.
I asked Julianne what she wanted to do after work and she responded with the names of a couple local restaurants and “or… you could make me pasta!!” That was a no brainer. Pasta it was. I had gnocchi in mind so I made a stop at the Italian Star Deli and picked up some packaged gnocchi. I wanted to get prosciuttino but they were out. They suggested coppa as a substitute. It’s quite nice too. It’s a cured pork sausage that’s a little like prosciutto; kinda salty so I had to be careful with the salt in the rest of the dish. I also made a stop by the Chinese market and picked up some shimeji mushrooms. They have a long stem and a little cap. Their flavour is mild but their texture is awesome for the sauce that I was planning to make.
I cut up the shallots, garlic, shimeji mushrooms and coppa and I was ready to start making sauce. The onions went in the pan with some olive oil and cooked until they were translucent. The shimeji mushrooms went in next. The garlic and coppa went in once the mushrooms had a little colour on them. I deglazed with white wine and after it had reduced a little I pored in the cream and ground a little pepper into the mix.
Cooking gnocchi is really simple. Add it to boiling water and it’s done when it floats. I drained the gnocchi and added it to the sauce. A little bush basil and asiago cheese and it was ready to eat. I think it would have been easier to grate the cheese on once the pasta was in the bowl. It was a little messy when I scooped the pasta and sauce out of the pan and put it into the bowls for serving.
1 package of potato gnocchi pasta (one day I’ll make this from scratch)
1 package of shimeji mushrooms
2 shallots or half a small onion
2 cloves of garlic
6 slices of coppa, prosciuttino or prosciutto
1/2 cup of wine
1/4 cup of cream
2 tbsp olive oil
asiago cheese (grated)
Put a pot of water on the stove and bring it up to a boil. While the water is heating up cut up the onions, garlic, mushrooms and coppa. Heat up the olive oil in the pan and add the onions. Fry them until they’re translucent and then add the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have a little colour add the garlic and coppa and cook for another minute. Deglaze with white wine and let it reduce for a while. It was at this point that I put the gnocchi in the water to cook. Once the wine had reduced to my liking I added the cream and some pepper. The gnocchi had started to float by this time so I drained it and added it to the sauce. I gave the whole thing a good stir and added basil and grated that asiago on top. Should have saved the cheese for grating on top once the pasta was in the bowls because it was quite messy.