Honestly, I don’t have a go-to here – I plan my menus around the people eating them and the food I find.
But there are some things that always sound impressive, require some effort, and come out like something made with love. Gnocchi is one of these. It’s easier than pasta (no special equipment required) but it sounds fancy and special.
I’ve found that a little goes a long way, so I made as much gnocchi as a single russet potato could produce.
To go with it, I made a lovely, chunky sauce with yellow onion, eggplant, plum tomatoes, garlic, and plenty of red pepper flakes, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. I also made a quick cashew-hemp seed-almond milk creamy sauce to mimic a bechamel or cheese topping and baked everything together like a casserole.
Since this is actually a weeknight meal, I needed some more protein (pan-fried tofu) and greens (spinach), which I cooked with a little bit of the extra creamy sauce. It was, frankly, overkill – some people like rich food; I am not often among them – and the appearance wasn’t as “ooh-la-la” as I hoped, but it was still good.
Gnocchi is always special, even if it’s not magic.