I do love summer. There is no denying it. Less clothes, tasty seafood and fishing for fluke or crabbing at the Jersey Shore or out east suits me just fine. As the long summer days dwindle, the city takes on a whole new feel.
But, before football madness takes over, there is a tender spot in September when the weather starts changing and New York City is just gorgeous. There are few people who can withstand shaking there money maker when “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire comes over the speakers anywhere, anytime. It is a golden time, autumn, before indifferent October winds steal the warmth from your bones. It is a spirit, before the season of spirits and hauntings brings shorter days and long nights.
We turn to heartier fare in the kitchen, using up all the later summer flavors in soups, stews and more elaborate pasta dishes. Gnocchi is something I won’t make in warmer weather, but when some of my friends are oohing and aahing over the joys of pumpkin spice I like to make a good gnocchi with a fun twist on Alfredo sauce.
Piemonte Ravioli Co. at 190 Grand St is my go to for freshly made gnocchi and it is consistently excellent and the store is nicely stocked with pleasant service. I recently tried this packaged Porcini Truffle Gnocchi at World Market and was pleasantly surprised by it’s light, pillowy texture and rich, earthy truffle essence.
Boursin Pistachio Herb Slap-Your-Mama Cream Sauce
2-3 cloves garlic crushed
2 tablespoon Kerrygold butter
1 cup half and half
1 Boursin garlic and herb package
2 tablespoons of crushed pistachio nuts, save a little for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped chives for sauce and a little more for garnish
1 teaspoon black pepper
6-8 mushrooms chopped
¾ cup dry white wine
Grated Parmesan cheese plus a little to sprinkle at the end
Possible additions to taste– Broccoli, bacon, pancetta, chicken, peas, olives, anchovies or carrots.
In a nonstick skillet, brown mushrooms with a little oil and butter. When they start to sizzle a bit and have a hint of brown, add garlic and let that dance on the pan for a minute or two deglaze with white wine.
Boil your pasta, spooning a quarter cup of pasta water on mushrooms. Add chives, butter, pistachios and black pepper and simmer. Drain gnocchi and brown in pan with a little oil medium high for like two or three minutes. Drain excess oil.
Browning the gnocchi form texture and flavor-
Drain off excess oil and let cool a little before you reintroduce the cheesy, amazing flavors in you sauce-
Add the Boursin into pan with a splash of half and half. Over a low flame, heat the Boursin and milk, breaking up the Boursin with a wooden spoon and stirring constantly to dissolve. Add more half and half, continuing to heat and stir, until the sauce reaches the consistency you want. The hotter the sauce gets, the easier it is to dissolve. Pour over gnocchi.
If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add some milk. If it is too thin, add more Boursin.
When the sauce starts to bubble beat it with the wooden spoon or whisk, then pour over your cooked pasta, stir through, and mangia! Serves 2.