Gnocchi Gorgonzola & Lamb Chops!

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Happy Tuesday... I'm pretty pumped I'm not saying MONDAY! Hope you had a fabulous long weekend and enjoyed a ton of turkey and made some new memories with your family! We had a really great weekend of relaxing, drinking and eating.. The best kind in my books! I wanted to treat James to a really special meal on Friday night so I finally made one of my favorite dishes to order: gnocchi in a gorgonzola cream sauce and lamb chops with a balsamic reduction. The meal was a HUGE hit and I am still dreaming about the lamb chops... I splurged and got them from Mercato Italian Gourmet market which also has a restaurant located at 2224 4th Street SW. I've been there a few times for special ingredients or fresh pasta and unfortunately find the staff either inattentive, slow or downright snobby. Friday was no exception but I was able to get what I was looking for and head home for a night with a glass of wine in front of the stove. I also thought I would try Bin 905 across the street for a nice bottle of wine to go with our meal and a bottle of cheap, white cooking wine. The cheapest bottle was $20 ... BRUTAL! I won't be back there but here are the recipes!
GNOCCHI!
I cheated and purchased the homemade gnocchi from Mercato for $9.99. The gnocchi was in the frozen section but made just days ago... I would not get this gnocchi again as it was extremely dense and not light and fluffy pillows like how I prefer my gnocchi. I really like the brand they have at Safeway in the pasta section or I will take another run at making my own. This wasn't worth it for the price or having to deal with the snobby cashiers.
GORGONZOLA! If you've read this blog I am always raving about it... I got this from Mercato as well and it was delicious. If you are not a fan of blue cheese gorgonzola is a great way to get into it. It is a lot milder and is great in sauces or on pizza.
I found this easy recipe for the gorgonzola cream sauce on Allrecipes.com and it turned out really great and not too rich. This sauce would also be great on cooked pasta, chicken, or shrimp. For a lower fat version, substitute half and half for the cream and add a teaspoon of cornstarch for thickening. Make sure when you make gnocchi to take them out of the boiling water as soon as they float! Otherwise they are easily overcooked. Here is the cream sauce recipe:
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 pinch ground nutmeg
black pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. In medium saucepan, cook white wine over high heat until reduced by half. Add cream, reduce heat, and cook until reduced by one-third. Add parmesan, gorgonzola and nutmeg. Stir until cheeses melt and sauce is creamy. 
After adding Gorgonzola.... mmmmmm
LAMB CHOPS!
I cannot say enough about this recipe! You cannot go wrong and it was super easy. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did... Medium or medium rare will be your best bet with lamb which is similar to beef for cooking times. If you cook the lamb too long it will be tough and will lose that silky tenderness. The balsamic reduction was to die for...I also found this recipe on allrecipes.com :)
Ingredients:
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary (I used fresh)
1/4 tsp. dried basil (I used fresh)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (I used fresh)
salt and pepper to taste
4 lamb chops (3/4 inch thick.. The ones from Mercator were $28.99 for 4 and already marinated in herbs)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth (I used beef)
1 Tbs butter

Directions

  1. In a small bowl or cup, mix together the rosemary, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub this mixture onto the lamb chops on both sides. Place them on a plate, cover and set aside for 15 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place lamb chops in the skillet, and cook for about 3 1/2 minutes per side for medium rare, or continue to cook to your desired doneness. Remove from the skillet, and keep warm on a serving platter.
  3. Add shallots to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes, just until browned. Stir in vinegar, scraping any bits of lamb from the bottom of the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth. Continue to cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by half. If you don't, the sauce will be runny and not good. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter. Pour over the lamb chops, and serve.
Chops after one flip
Making the balsamic reduction. A reduction literally means you are reducing the sauce or bringing it to a boil to "reduce" the amount by a certain amount to bring out flavors. The best part about this reduction is that you use the scrapings from the lamb so this was SO flavorful!!!

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