Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fennel Orange Gnocchi Inspired by Tuscany

As a result of my amazing trip to Tuscany last week, I was inspired to use the cooking knowledge I gained from Pat and translate it to my everyday cooking routine.  This proved pretty fortuitous thus far, as the cooking we practiced in Tuscany was simple and used fresh ingredients, which consisted mostly of produce.  I added in some starch too, for a more filling result, and a dish that was once a salad in Pat's kitchen, turned into a gnocchi variation in mine.

I loved the use of the licoricey fennel in this dish, coupled with sweet, juicy oranges that were cut into bite-sized chunks.  Tweaks were made of course, as I dulled out the sharpness of the fennel by sauteeing it for a few minutes together with garlic, instead of serving it raw, like in the salad.  For some creamy tang, I also added a few crumbles of good quality goat cheese and for the greens, I used fresh basil instead of parsley.

Here's my refurbished recipe:

Fennel Orange Gnocchi a la Foodista by way of Tasty Tuscany

(serves 2)

1 package of whole wheat gnocchi (I used Trader Joe's brand)
1 whole fennel bulb, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced
1 fresh orange, cut into bite-sized cubes
A small handful of basil, rolled and then cut into thin pieces
A shake of red pepper flakes
Olive oil
Glug of good marsala wine
Salt to taste


Cook gnocchi according to directions.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  You can mix in a little bit of butter too if you have it, but use unsalted butter.  Add the garlic and make sure to stir frequently to make sure it doesn't burn.  Add the fennel and mix frequently until it gets a nice golden color (the fennel shouldn't get too soft though).  Incorporate the salt and red pepper flakes and keep mixing for another minute or two.  Then add the marsala wine and turn down the heat so the sauce thickens a bit.

Stir in the gnocchi and a little bit of gnocchi water too, to thin out the sauce, if needed.  Mix in the orange cubes and basil.  Stir well and spoon into bowls.  Crumble the goat cheese on top at the end so it melts in nicely with the still hot gnocchi.  If you don't love goat cheese, you can substitute, pecorino, mozzarella - or any other cheese of your choice.  Buon appetito. 


  1. Sounds delish!! I would love to taste your version b/c listen to this coincidence...last night we went out for dinner at I Coppi in the city. Two people in our party wanted to get the orange cream gnocchi w/ crab meat, which I advised against after having read multiple bad reviews on that specific dish. Et voila--here is Foodista sharing a certified tasty version! Thanks so much!

  2. Thanks Kimberlah - definitely try it - it's really tasty and so refreshing. You can make it with pasta or just a straight up salad like we did in Tasty Tuscany. You can't go wrong with this combo, I think.

  3. Awesome work Judith!! I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of fennel or licorice anything, but I think it's great that you're creating new dishes :) Keep it up!

  4. Thanks Angela - I'm enjoying it. Brutti e buoni are next!



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