Gnocchi with butternut squash and fried sage, green salad with lemon vinaigrette.
A while back, a friend and I took a gnocchi-making class at the Kansas City Culinary Institute. The teacher was the chef de cuisine at Lidia's, my favorite restaurant. So we got his recipes and techniques, and I learned how to make gnocchi, but mostly I learned that making gnocchi is a time-consuming pain in the ass. And also largely unnecessary, because nowadays supermarkets carry vacuum-sealed or frozen gnocchi that's perfectly good.
However! Back on New Year's Eve, we had company and I put together a shrimp boil. In the aftermath of the shrimp boil, we had about three pounds of leftover cooked red potatoes. Any sane person would have just thrown them away. But I am not any sane person. When faced with a quantity of leftover potatoes, I made gnocchi. A lot of it, as it turned out. And then I froze it.
So my point is, even though this dinner might seem fancy, and certainly homemade gnocchi is a lot of effort, this particular meal took me literally fifteen minutes to make. I put the water on to boil, melted the butter for the sauce, and microwaved the frozen butternut squash. By the time the water boiled, the sage was crispy and the defrosted squash was sauteeing in the butter. The frozen gnocchi went into the water, floated almost immediately, came out of the water and into the butter sauce, where I let it brown for a couple of minutes. Salt, pepper, liberal dousing in grated parmesan cheese. All done.
It was delicious. I struggled not to eat thirds (I prevailed). The children ate a ton of it and didn't even seem to notice the squash, or else I'm pretty sure I would have heard about it.