|Pasta Topped With Tomatoes and Mushrooms|
I got home a bit later than usual tonight, thanks to absurd amounts of rain and flash flooding. But I can't even blame our mediocre dinner on my tardiness. I've known since yesterday that I wanted to make gnocchi and provencal sauce for dinner. I even called the husband as I sat in traffic and asked him to open a bottle of wine so it'd be ready when I got home. I needed it for the sauce. Really, I did.
Figuring the sauce would take longer than the gnocchi I started there first. I I drizzled a bit of olive oil in a saucepan and heated some chopped onion and garlic until the kitchen smelled amazing. (Isn't it such a confidence booster when the food you're cooking smells good? I should learn not to let that get my hopes up.) After just a couple of minutes it was time to add the vegetable broth and wine, so I figured I'd poor myself a glass, as well. Dinner still looked promising at this point.
The husband milled around and, to my surprise, didn't ask any questions about what I was putting into the sauce. He's not always a huge fan of tomatoes - I know, what kind of Italian did I marry? But he didn't say a work when I chopped up a vine-ripe tomato and threw it into the sauce to warm. I added a little salt and thyme to the sauce and started a pot of water for the gnocchi. Once the gnocchi water was boiling, I threw in the potato pasta and thought I'd taste the sauce. Luckily, the husband didn't see my reaction. The sauce was quite flavorless. Had I not followed the recipe until this point, I'd blame myself for the blandness of the sauce. But I swear to you, it wasn't me.
I chopped up some mushrooms, tossed in a little red pepper flakes, added a touch of cornstarch to help it thicken and even sprinkled some mixed up pepper on top, but nothing seemed to help the sauce. Fine, I thought. I'll let it sit for a second and see what happens. Unfortunately, it was at that moment that I realized the gnocchi was no longer gnocchi. My beloved little pasta balls had disintegrated, apparently way overcooked. I had nothing but a sloppy mashed potato mess. The husband helped me strain and scoop the mess into the garbage and cook up some thin spaghetti instead.
"Should I try the sauce before I put it all over my pasta?" The husband asked as he stood over the stove. If there's one thing the husband and I are it's honest.
"I was kind of thinking that might be a good idea," I told him.
In the end, we both ate the sauce without much complaint, but it was nothing special. And really, it was a bit strange. I'll take the blame for the end result being a little odd, but I don't think it would have been much better had I not put my own spin on the recipe. I can't call tonight's dinner a keeper in any way, but I did manage to keep the husband on the Meatless Monday train, even if he did suggest that I find one good meatless meal and make it every week.