Friday, December 20, 2013

Zucchini & Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sauce

Work's been slow this week because everyone is easing into holiday vacation mode.  I took advantage of that and met KK and one of our friends at Amanda's in Hoboken for their early bird special.  Typical entrees at Amanda's are usually between $20-30, but the early bird special offers a 3-course meal for just $16! It would be nearly impossible to get away from work and out to dinner by 5:30 on a normal night, so we jumped at the opportunity to slip away from our desks just before the 5 o'clock bell to enjoy the fantastic deal.  KK and I both started with polenta (I can't believe I haven't posted about my love for polenta yet - more on that another time, I promise!) with a three cheese sauce.  We all tried different things for our mains - pan seared chicken, pork medallions with mint sauce, and pasta with asparagus and veggies.  We all cleared our plates, but still saved room for dessert.  We also enjoyed a nice tempranillo for $20 as part of the special, but unfortunately I didn't take note of the wine maker.  After dinner, we headed over to an impromptu wine night at our friends' apartment.  Unlike us, they managed to save some cookies from last weekend's cookie swap, so they had it all - wine, cheese, and sweets.  We also played our group's favorite party game - the bowl game.  It's similar to Celebrity, but you throw any noun into the hat, not just celebrity names.  It's a good party game because all you need is pens, paper, and a bowl.

We had a great time with friends last night, a few I hadn't seen in quite some time, but now I wish I had today off from work.  Just one more day to go before my holiday break begins, but before I go, I'll give you the final post from Thanksgiving :)

Last, but certainly not least, this is the last recipe I made while we were in Hilton Head.  KK forgot to add butter to our original grocery list, so we had to make an extra trip out for it because you can’t have brown butter sauce without butter! Timing is key when you’re making brown butter sauce.  If you cook it too long, the butter will burn; if you don’t cook it long enough, the nutty flavor will not develop properly.  As it cooks, the butter will quickly (within a matter of minutes depending on your skillet) turn into a nice golden brown color.  I used fresh gnocchi this time, but you can also use frozen gnocchi and increase the cook time by a few minutes. The timeshare kitchen didn’t have a mandolin, but it did have a grater.  With that, I was able to thinly and uniformly slice the zucchini, but I wasn’t able to make proper, lengthwise ribbons… luckily, the dish still tasted great! :)

Zucchini & Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sauce
Adapted from Eating Well
Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2

1 lb. gnocchi
3 Tbsp butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 small zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions, until they float which takes 3-5 minutes once water has boiled.  Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook until the butter is beginning to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add onions and zucchini; stir frequently and cook 2-3 minutes until softened.  Add tomatoes, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.  Continue cooking and stirring an additional 2-3 minutes until tomatoes begin to soften and break down.  Stir in Parmesan and cooked gnocchi, toss to coat, and serve immediately.

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