Garlicky Gnocchi with Pecorino Romano
Now that Christmas is over, I’m really working on lightening up my diet a lot. Over the holidays, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to have dessert every day and to not worry about doing the cooking. I’ve been living off a carb-heavy, low-vegetable diet. I need to get back on track and do my body a favor, so we’re back to cooking! Today, I wanted to share one of our favorite recipes that is a lot lighter than most typical winter dishes, but is still big on flavor.
A lot of the flavor in this dish comes from Pecorino Romano. It’s one of the oldest cheeses in the world, and is a sheep milk cheese. If can only be produced from October to July in a few select regions of Italy. You only need a little to add huge flavor to the gnocchi in this recipe. It adds a delicious saltiness and sharp hard-cheese flavor. Something that I learned recently is that Romano and Pecorino are different. Romano isn’t a sheep’s milk cheese at all, so if you want to really replicate the recipe, you’ll want to look for Pecorino Romano, with the letters PDO after it, to make sure that you’re getting the real deal. PDO means it has to have come from these specific regions of Italy (Sardinia, Lazio, or Grosseto). It’s kind of like how champagne can only come from Champagne, France, or it isn’t really champagne. To make sure that your cheese is the real, highest quality, it has to have that PDO on the label. You can tell I’m serious about cheese, and I am. I don’t like to mess around with quality.
Okay. On to the recipe! This one is a big hit at our house. Charles loves it, and better yet kids love it. My nephew (hugely picky) will just devour this. It’s a no-leftovers kind of dinner.
1 pound gnocchi, store bought or homemade
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed (chicken or turkey is a lighter option)
1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces, stem grated
½ cup chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces grated pecorino romano (about 2/3 of a cup)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook gnocchi until the pasta floats to the surface, about 4-5 minutes. If using store-bought, cook according to package directions.
While the gnocchi cooks, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent (roughly five minutes). Add garlic and saute for an additional two minutes.
Add the sausage to the skillet and brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Stir in the chicken broth and broccoli. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. For added spice, you can also add red-pepper flakes.
Combine the gnocchi with the sausage mixture, and add the pecorino romano and parsley. Toss until well combined and serve immediately.
Please let me know if you make this recipe! Like I said, it’s a huge hit at our house! If you want to learn more about Pecorino Romano, or how the PDO designation works, I found a lot of great information at this website. Happy cooking!
D’Italia very kindly sent me some Pecorino Romano to use for developing my recipe!