Regardless of how much you cook, acclimating to a new kitchen is a process. Finding the best place for your pots and pans, your utensils, more (or less, for most NYC-ers) counter space, learning the quirks of each new oven and stove, not to mention where to keep all those spices you’ve accumulated in 4.5+ years of blogging?? Oh wait, that’s my anxiety seeping in, sorry.
Getting used to the in and outs of a new place takes time. The best way to do it? Cooking. Otherwise, you’ll never learn that the oven runs hot, or that the stove angles downward, or that two people cooking at the same time will be impossible without a kitchen cart.
But obviously, that doesn’t mean jumping into a multi-part, 25-ingredient masterpiece in Week 1 at the new place. (For one, if you’re anything like me, most of your stuff is still in boxes because you hate unpacking.) Keeping the recipe simple allows you to focus on the kitchen itself — do the stove knobs get stuck at certain heat levels? Can I use this counter for prep work or is it in an awkward area? (If you have the luxury of multiple counters, you might find that one spot is easier to use than another.) Is the stove so small that my big skillet doesn’t fit? (Yes.)
I learned that the hard way, while making this skillet gnocchi with blistered tomatoes. Lost amidst the moving drama and excitement over Chicago was that summer produce has taken over the farmer’s market. Cherry tomatoes come in all colors and sizes, each
mini ball pit of deliciousness. They star in this five-ingredient dish, and their quick jaunt in the skillet, along with spicy Italian sausage, olive oil and a pinch of crushed pepper, punches them up ever so slightly.
You can get fancier with this, sauteeing diced zucchini or adding toasted pine nuts or shaved Pecorino. But it’s just as delicious in its simplest form, an easy weeknight dinner that doubled as my opportunity to test out my new home.
Skillet Gnocchi with Blistered Tomatoes
Adapted (barely) from The Kitchn
– 1 pound gnocchi
– 2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil
– 12 ounces cooked chicken sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick coins (I used hot Italian-style, but use anything you like)
– 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
– 1 to 2 ounces fresh basil, julienned
– 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
– salt and pepper, to taste
1) Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and toss with a half-teaspoon of olive oil.
2) Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add the sausage and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the sausage has browned. Remove from the skillet, and add the tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until they are blistered.
3) Stir in the sausage and gnocchi, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the gnocchi has browned slightly. Turn off the heat, and stir in the fresh basil, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.