Gnocchi is a pillowy potato pasta typically boiled in water like other pastas, but a recent trend in roasting all of the ingredients for a meal on a single sheet pan has inspired a new way to cook them. Shelf-stable or refrigerated gnocchi can be roasted straight out of the package, resulting in a crispy, chewy texture. Bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, basil, and garlic round out the meal.
This year for book club, my choice was The Italian Party, a novel set in 1950s Sienna and “teeming with seduction and spycraft.” My menu was inspired by food from the book and centered on this Ribollita, a stew of kale, tomatoes, and beans, thickened with day-old bread. It’s a recipe and style of cooking thought of as “poor cooking” and making the most of what you have, but it was a beautiful dish to serve to friends with wine, Cacio e Pepe, and delightful discussion of a great story.
This dish was inspired by Martha Stewart’s one-pot pasta dish that creates its own sauce as it cooks. Combine water, farro, thinly sliced onions and garlic, and cherry tomatoes, and cook until the farro is tender and the onions and tomatoes have melted into the perfect sauce.
This recipe was a bit ambitious for a weeknight in our house, but is a winning combination of creamy farro and Parmesan cheese, grated butternut squash, and (perfect for holiday leftovers) diced ham. Farro contains the same amount of calories as rice, but more fiber and protein, so it’s a great nutritional choice.