Thursday, January 6, 2011

Good Try, Vegetarian

In an effort to promote healthy eating in our household, I made a New Year's Resolution to try to make more vegetarian meals. Yesterday, as I got out my cookbooks to make spaghetti sauce, I passed over the all-too-delicious looking meatballs and my eye glimpsed a recipe for Gnocchi, the classic Italian potato dumpling. "Perfect!" I thought. I can still create a more filling meal without adding the meat!

Don't be fooled. My gnocchi didn't look anything like this.

It could have been a relaxing day when I finished making my marinara sauce at 11 a.m. However, I was for some reason intent on making gnocchi, so the rest of my free time and lots of time that wasn't, was spent in boiling, peeling, grating, mixing, rolling and shaping little potatoes into dumplings. Had they been delicious, my efforts would have been worth it, but no; they were bland, soggy dumplings that I ended up throwing away and being frustrated over because I had spent my whole day attempting to make bland dumplings. Yikes.

The good thing was that the marinara sauce was delicious. We tossed it with whole wheat spaghetti noodles and served it with herb french bread and squash and it turned out to be a lovely meal.  No recipe for gnocchi today, but make the sauce. It was worth it and much faster.

Based off the recipe from Williams-Sonoma for

2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion
2-4 garlic cloves (minced)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 (14.5 oz.) cans of stewed tomatoes (2 cans Italian style, 1 can garlic and olive oil) - undrained
dash of nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 tsp or more of basil (1/4 cup chopped fresh basil)
red pepper flakes
freshly ground pepper

Dice the onion. Heat olive oil in a pan with high sides. Add onion and cook until onions are tender (slightly translucent). Add garlic and cook approximately 1 minute. Pour in red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat.

Add the tomatoes, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, basil (if using fresh, wait until 10 minutes before serving to add) and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then lower to heat so that the sauce can simmer. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Occasionally add more water if the sauce is getting too thick. Discard bay leaf. Toss with pasta and serve.  Or let cool and refrigerate  for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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