Recession Special

The Gourmand & I calculated how much $$$ we’ve been spending at the farmer’s market, and then how much money we spend on take out (as a result of laziness and exhaustion at the end of long work days) and then how much of our farmer’s market veggies never make it to plate before turning odd colors, going to seed in the refrigerator or being petrified in the crisper. Not good! I have shelled lots of peas and frozen them in gallon bags, along with some strawberries to save for the cold days of winter when Driscoll’s just won’t do.

However, we LOVE to shop for food. Some women gravitate to Canal Street for knock-off purses. I go to Stinky Brooklyn for a new hunk of Mimmolette. This has led to a full kitchen pantry, a blue metal hutch filled with flax seeds and pastas and imported jellies and tuna in olive oil from Sicily, which are so much fun to buy! The colorful labels jump off the shelves and into my basket like LV embellished handbags. The more foreign the language, the better.

Like the handbags (I imagine) many of our purchases end up on the shelves, and slowly get pushed to the shadowy corners and forgotten about. Until yesterday!

Maybe its because we can’t fit one more thing on the shelves of our pantry. Maybe its because our freezer sends hardened pork chops and duck stock bouldering to the floor when we open it, or when I heard myself say, “We don’t have anything to cook.” The Gourmand rose to the challenge! Of course, feel free to substitute or supplement the recipe with whatever you have on hand. Improvising is the key to using stuff up – and making room for more!

Potato Gnocchi with Spring Peas, Garlic Scapes and Bacon

1 package Mediterranean Potato Gnocchi (from Trader Joes, purchased in March)
4 strips thick sliced bacon (from Ray Bradley Farms, purchased last fall sometime and frozen)
1/4 cup chopped garlic scapes (purchased 2 weeks ago from Farmer’s Market)
2 cups frozen sweet peas (purchased 2 weeks ago from Farmer’s Market)
olive oil
shaved parmesean  reggiano (unknown, but still smelled and tasted good and had no fur)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. (Pillowy and light, these starchy puffs are the foundation of many italian primi piatti. As versatile as pasta but with more density and addictive chewiness.)

Meanwhile, place the bacon in a large sautée pan over medium heat. The key to cooking bacon is “low and slow” low heat and lots of patience. Allow the bacon to get dark brown and crisp and render out most of its fat. Remove from pan and allow to cool enough to handle. Chop the bacon fine and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. (I know it sounds like a lot, but this is the basis for your sauce – no other liquid will be added and you want the gnocchi to be evenly and well coated. And remember, small portions are the new mega meal.) When the butter melts and the foaming slows down, add the garlic scapes and the peas. Sautee until they are bright green. Add back in the bacon. Drain the gnocchi and add to the pan as well, tossing until coated and the peas are evenly distributed.

Serve with shaved parmesean cheese, and cracked pepper, if you have it in the pantry!

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