Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gnocchi Heaven

Gloria's Little Italy... the most darling Italian restaurant right off of center street in the middle of downtown Provo. 
It is where my roommate Taylor and I go anytime we need a serious girl's night.  We usually just share something (the pesto Calabrese is utterly divine) and then each get our own dessert.  The process of choosing dessert is ALWAYS a struggle, but at Gloria's Little Italy it is next to impossible.  We begin by reading over every single description on the dessert menu to narrow down our options.  We're usually already drooling by this point, but just to make sure, we go peer through the glass cases in the back of the shop to see each dessert firsthand.  Every time I am reminded of my spring trip to Italy as a sophomore in high school when we would eat gelato for all 3 meals of the day.  The shop workers always had thick Italian accents with very broken English, but would let you try every flavor until you found the exact one you wanted.  It wasn't uncommon to be seen out of the store with a big kiss on the cheek and a loud "Ciao Bella!". 
Anyways, if I'm in a chocolate kind of mood (which is probably the case 99% of the time anyways...) I'll get the tartufo.  If not, I'll get the millefoglie.  Both, are to die for. Literally.
Taylor never minds letting me taste a few bites of her choice as well.  But that's what best friends are for, right?    

Gloria's Little Italy is also the place where I first discovered my undying love for....

If you've never had gnocchi, they are basically these little dumplings of potato-y goodness.

I've tried a few recipes that call for gnocchi in the past, but nothing has ever particularly wowed me like the dish I tried at Gloria's Little Italy.  
Until last night at least.
It was just a cooking kind of day.
I wanted to try something new (thank you and creative.  And of course delicious.  
So I threw on my apron, and turned up some John Mayer.
This is what happened....

Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach, Tomatoes, and White Beans


Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 16 oz package dry gnocchi (I use the Delallo whole wheat potato variety)
Medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
One bunch of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
15 oz can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
15 oz can of white beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat a little oil in a skillet and add the gnocchi.  Cook until the dumplings are plump, tender, and just starting to brown (think 7-8ish minuets).
Transfer them to a separate bowl for safe keeping (preferably as far away from the counter's edge as possible.  I was inches from knocking the entire bowl into the trash can!).

While the gnocchi is cooking, you can chop your garlic and onion.  Honestly, it wouldn't hurt to add an extra clove of garlic to this recipe.  The more the merrier, right? 

Saute the onions in a little more oil for a few minuets.  Add the garlic, cover the pot, and let them cook for 5ish minuets until the onions soften and have a golden/translucent color.  Then add your chopped spinach, stirring until the leaves are wilted.  

Now it's time to add your beans, gnocchi, and tomatoes.  These beans were on sale at Macy's a few weeks ago, and I went a little wild stocking up...  This brand is my absolute favorite, none of those crazy unpronounceable words on the ingredient list.  Anyways, just let it simmer for about 10 minuets.  Make sure you taste it!  Mine needed a decent sized scoop of black pepper, a pinch of salt, and a little oregano.

  Top with the cheese.  Cover and wait until it is all melty and gooey.
I promise you won't be able to eat just one bowl of this stuff!

Bon Appitit!
Easy, Delicious, Healthy, Perfect-O.

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