We hosted brunch this weekend for a few of our friends and it was a big success. I was a little nervous though as our place is pretty small, no one has seen it yet, and the smoke detector goes off all the time for no discernible reason. Also our fridge has started doing this new thing where it rumbles tremendously all day and night. It sounds like a small construction worker is inside, jack-hammering at the crisper drawer.
Aside from those specific to my life issues, there are also the nerves that come along with cooking a big meal for a bunch of people you care about. How many types of creamer should I buy? Is it even possible to serve perfectly runny eggs for a crowd? And where are all the god damn FORKS?! While all of these questions are quietly humming in the back of my brain, my husband scoops the litter box, lights a scented candle, and basically is a master magician with a vacuum cleaner.
To be honest, I don’t know if I’m good at entertaining. Because it’s a lot more than just cleaning your house and putting out a bunch of food and drinks. It’s socializing, making introductions, reading the room, and managing your own expectations of how everything will turn out. It’s that last part that’s hard for me. For instance, this weekend I burned something. It went in the trash before anyone even arrived, and there was PLENTY of other food to go around, but in my head all I could think was people will KNOW it’s missing and their entire day will be ruined. This honestly just speaks to how self-involved I can be at times. Spoiler alert: no one noticed and everyone had a good time (right?).
Sooooooo….now you’d expect me to dole out some fool-proof tips for easy entertaining and possibly even a quick and easy but ultra-impressive recipe to make for your next get together? Well I’m sorry to squash your wishful thinking, but these insecure ramblings are just that – ramblings.
But thank you for reading them, and for that you shall be rewarded with an insanely delicious dinner recipe for something I would probably not make for company as I find it’s best eaten out of a bowl with minimal utensils, while parked on the couch and wearing sweatpants.
It’s comfort food, meaning it’s carby and indulgent. However it does involve a hefty amount of veg, so that may soothe your conscience for a moment. So if you’ve been busy stressing about who has a dairy allergy and how friends from different social circles may or may not get along, maybe make this and just chill for a while. And remember, if all else fails just round everyone up and take em to the Whole Foods hot bar – they’ve got eggs and you don’t have to do dishes – see, there’s your hot tip.Print
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Kale and Brown Butter
Homemade gnocchi is intimidating, but I honestly don’t know why. Microwave that potato, mash it up with some tasty cheeses, and then add in just enough flour to bring it all together. You will get a little messy, but it will be soooooo worth it. Also brown butter because yum and kale because balance.
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- Cook Time: 25 Minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: American
1 large sweet potato (about 1 ½ C of flesh once cooked)
¼ C grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for garnish
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
½ tsp black pepper
1 t lemon zest
1 C flour, plus more for rolling
6 T unsalted butter
16 ounces kale, roughly chopped
Juice of one lemon, plus more for garnish
Bake or microwave the sweet potato until completely tender (approximately 45 minutes in an oven or 5 minutes in a microwave). Set aside until just cool enough to handle.
In a medium bowl combine pecorino, mascarpone, ½ tsp kosher salt, black pepper, and lemon zest.
Peel the sweet potato, scoop out the flesh, and add it to the cheese mixture. Mash with a fork until smooth (some lumps here and there are fine though).
Add the flour and stir until you have a slightly sticky dough. Divide into the thirds.
On a well-floured surface, gently take one piece of dough and using your fingers roll it into a 16 inch rope (it should be about ¾ inch in thickness). Continue with the remaining dough – dusting with flour as needed.
Using a knife or pastry scraper, cut each rope into 16 one-inch pieces. Place on a floured baking sheet and transfer to the fridge. You can also freeze them at this point.*
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
While you’re waiting, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Cook the butter, swirling frequently, until it bubbles up and then begins to brown. Then lower heat as low as it will go (or just turn it off).
When your water is boiling, add a generous handful of kosher salt (like 3 tablespoons or more).
Add your gnocchi and cook, stirring gently every so often. The gnocchi will take 3-4 minutes to cook. You’ll know they’re done when they float.
Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi from the water, directly to the brown butter – the less water you bring over in the step the better.
Bring the heat up to medium and spread the gnocchi into an even layer. Cook undisturbed for at least 2 minutes, or until the gnocchi begin to brown and crisp. Then flip and cook on the other side. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
While the gnocchi are sautéing, bring the water back up to a boil and add your kale. Cook for 5 minutes, or until completely tender but still green.
Drain the kale and add it to the skillet, tossing to coat in the remaining brown butter. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Gently fold the gnocchi back into the skillet with the kale.
Serve and top with grated pecorino cheese and lemon wedges.
Keywords: vegetarian comfort food, homemade gnocchi