My initial plan: a healthy dinner of a simple, pan-friend chicken breast with a side of brussel sprouts. I wasn’t even hungry. After snacking just minutes earlier, I really had no right to be. But then it happened….. cooking ADD.
The chicken I cooked and left alone. The brussel sprouts, however, just weren’t cutting it. To rectify the “way too healthy” situation, I heated a small pat of butter in my trusty Le Creuset stock pot, added some diced pancetta (yes, I added bacon to butter, what of it??), a clove of garlic and some chopped sage. When the pancetta was browned, I added the steamed, halved brussel sprouts back into pan and let them brown. This would have been a perfect stopping point….I continued. I then glanced at the sorry chicken breast laying on my cutting board. Was I really going to jazz up my veggies with 2 different fats, herbs and garlic and leave the poor chicken hoplessly bland and boring? Oooh no, not in my kitchen. The chicken was sliced, added to the pot of brussels and showered with a splash of white wine. You can probably guess where I’m going from here… it is a blog about pasta, afterall. And what’s been keeping me busy all week? — gnocchi. I let the chicken/ brussel mixture sit on the stove under a low flame while I quickly filled a small pot to boil water for the potato gnocchi I had made the day before. While I waited for the water to boil, I again turned to my stock pot (note here that I am now giggling to myself, see my pug Finn staring at me giggling to myself, and laugh even harder). I’m reminded of one of the most popular pasta dishes at Campiello Ristorante in Naples– a pasta served in a cream sauce with gorganzola, chicken and spinach. Needless to say I have now added a splash of cream and a hefty dusting of pecorino romano. The gnocchi float, they are added to the stock pot and voila!….(20 minutes, 4 different dinner ideas, and a smoke-filled studio apartment later) Dinner! I do realize I have a tendency to make a short story longer, but this dish deserves all 400 some-odd words devoted to it. The nutmeg in the gnocchi paired beautifully with the rich leafy brussel sprouts and pancetta. The often boring chicken breast was transformed by the slight hint of cream and cheese. Put it all together… a delicious dinner, complete in 20 minutes (A.D.D and all).