When asked what my favorite season is, I always feel a little conflicted: here in Seattle, it’s summer, but anywhere else in the world, it’s autumn. I love the warmth of fall colors, the more temperate climate, and the start of sweater season, but here in Seattle, fall depresses me for the most part. This is the time of year from which we get our bad reputation for non-stop rain. As I’m writing this, it’s a cold, grey, and pouring first day of November, and if this month is anything like the last few years, I can expect the weather to stay like this every day for at least the next three weeks.
But I can’t totally complain about a Pacific Northwest fall. In one very important way, our autumn is better than anywhere else– the mad rush of late summer produce that keeps showing up at markets throughout September and even into October. It’s not uncommon to see produce stands stocked high with ears of corn and tomatoes (well, ok, not this year as this was a rotten summer for tomatoes here) alongside piles of apples and winter squash. It’s my foodie dream and nightmare as I am so excited to have such a variety of produce to play with but also a little overwhelmed by so many options.
For me, this gnocchi represents that transition from summer to fall. I was inspired after John and I had dinner at one of our favorite local ale houses. John ordered their special: a plate of tender chicken and gnocchi enveloped in a rich brown butter sauce. That’s fall comfort food at its ideal, if you ask me. Back at home, however, I had a refrigerator full of summery produce from the CSA: yellow and green squash, red ripe tomatoes, crisp Roma beans, and sweet corn. I wanted to recreate that ale house gnocchi but with the bright, fresh, and crunchy flavors of my summer vegetables. In the end, it was perfect: I had shallow bowls of pillowy gnocchi, specked with bright colors, sweet vegetables, and a light sauce made from browned butter and chicken stock. It’s the perfect reminder of summer to combat the rainy days of November.
- 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken
- 1/2 lb Roma beans, cut into 1/2 inch wide squares
- 3 ears of corn, kernels removed from cob
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 large red onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 4 baby yellow squash
- 1 medium green squash
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh savory or thyme
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for garnishing at the table
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- salt and pepper
Shred the chicken breasts from the rotisserie chicken and remove the skin. Reserve the rest of the chicken meat for another purpose.
Bring a medium pot full of water to a boil. Add about 1 tablespoon of salt then add the corn and Roma beans. Boil for about 5 minutes then drain and run cold water on top of the vegetables to cool them down and slow the cooking. Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion is softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the squash and cook until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Mix in the corn, Roma beans, and savory then season with salt and pepper to taste.
While the vegetables cook, cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Add the butter to a medium skillet and heat over a medium flame. The butter will melt and foam up. Once the foam dissipates, stir the butter frequently and keep a close eye on it, removing it from the heat as soon as the butter turns a nutty brown color and is fragrant. Add the drained gnocchi to the vegetable mix. Over medium heat, add the butter, chicken stock and grated cheese, tossing gently to coat. Cook over a medium flame until the sauce thickens slightly and is absorbed into the gnocchi. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Plate the gnocchi topped with chopped chives and tomatoes with additional cheese to pass at the table.
CSA Count: 7
Roma beans, corn, red onion, baby yellow squash, green squash, chives, tomatoes
Garden Count: 1