Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gnocchi Alfredo with Pancetta and caramelized Shallots

This one is actually a recipe I made a while back, but I had misplaced the picture (which I luckily found today). You can say it is long overdue, especially because I need to give credit to my very wonderful friend Josh for the tremendous curing job on the pancetta. He has become some sort of renaissance man who not only knows how to lead in the business world of theater but who can make mozzarella, ricotta and other smoked and cured meats. In our group of friends we have agreed that if the apocalypse ever does take place we want him on our side to ensure our survival. He is pretty darn awesome.

I digress, so let's get back to the point. I cheated a bit because I did not make the gnocchi, but I did make a simple Alfredo sauce and  a great pancetta topping. This is a nice and easy dish that will literally take you at most 20 minutes to put together (Ronnie I hope you are still reading because this one will make it easy for you to get a meal together during your busy week).

Gnocchi Alfredo with Pancetta and Caramelized Shallots

1 Pack of store bought gnocchi (1pound recommended)

For the Alfredo Sauce:
1 Pint Heavy Cream
2 TBSP Butter
3-4 Cloves of Garlic (crushed or finely diced)
1 1/2 Cups Grated Parmesan
Pepper to taste

For the Pancetta and Caramelized Shallot Topping:
1/4 Pound Pancetta (cut up into small cubes)
2 Shallots (finely sliced)

Start by getting 6 cups of water in pot with some salt and a small amount of olive oil and bringing this to a boil. Add your gnocchi and cook for about 5-6 minutes or until tender (but please make sure not to over cook it because it will not be good eats if you do).

In a sauce pan melt your butter and add in the garlic, and saute until the garlic starts to brown. Add in your heavy cream and stir. Add in the Parmesan a little bit at a time while simultaneously stirring it into the heavy cream mixture quickly with a whisk (what you want is to incorporate the cheese into the cream slowly to allow it to become a part of it without creating clumps). Add your pepper and remove the sauce from the burner.

The gnocchi and the sauce should be cooking simultaneously because they will take about the same amount of time to cook and because you want to make sure that your sauce is ready as soon as you drain your gnocchi so that you can immediately coat it with the sauce.

In a frying pan, preheated over medium high heat start cooking your Pancetta the goal is to heat it through and sear it just a bit, and to let it render some fat. once you see the Pancetta start to brown (about 5 minutes) remove it onto a plate with a paper towel to drain any extra oil. Use the fat rendered onto your pan to caramelize your shallots. Once this is done return the Pancetta to the pan, incorporate it into the shallots and remove the pan from the burner. Add on top of your gnocchi alfredo with a little fresh grated Parmesan and enjoy.

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