It is a truly lovely day when one is able to host (and feed) friends and family from near and far! A rare moment when the stars align and everyone who should be at the lunch table is! We ate, laughed, reminisced, at times one of us would listen carefully, while another would look out through the kitchen window. Because our friends and family are dispersed, we cherish these moments. Also, there is pretty convincing data that supports the theory that having strong, happy, on-going social relationships, leads to a longer, healthier, and certainly to a more fulfilling life!
I made a simple gnocchi dish. I like to get my pastas from Venda Ravioli, they make fresh and tasty pasta. I boiled the gnocchi and set it aside (I made 1 1/2 pounds of gnocchi). Gnocchi is a very fickle pasta so my rule is to boil them for only 4 minutes!
After the gnocchi were cooked and set aside, I made a simple sauce: first, I added olive oil to a large sauce pan, added a generous amount of fresh, crushed garlic (about 10 cloves), 3 cups frozen spinach, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and 2 cans whole tomatoes. I added 1 heaping teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar. When sauce boiled together for about 8 minutes, I added the gnocchi, gently covering the pasta with the sauce. I set the oven to warm, then added the gnocchi to a large pan (as if it was a lasagna). I garnished the gnocchi with whole, fresh basil leaves, then added a mix of cheeses (mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, asiago, fontina, and romano) and set it in the oven in the warm setting until it was ready to serve.
We are wishing for many more moments when our table is full of friends, family, laughter and wonderful food! After all is said and done, the moments we spend sharing life with our loved ones, are the ones that matter the most!