On the weekends, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago. Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage was originally published in April 2012.
Oh eating out vegetarian – it can be so interesting and also so very, very boring. Yesterday was my long day at work. I was able to eat breakfast at home but had to eat lunch and dinner out. I took my lunch with me. Since I was teaching a class that evening at an off-campus location I decided to swing by Panera to grab a salad.
There are some very simple reasons why I chose Panera. First, I was in Chapel Hill and parking can be nuts. Panera has a parking lot. Second, I wanted a salad. I was picking up my dinner at 4:00, and I knew I wouldn’t be eating it for a couple of hours. I wanted something that would not get soggy.
Panera had LOTS of salad options, but only a couple that were intended to be vegetarian. At first, when I read the list of salads under the giant SALAD heading on the menu board I saw no strictly vegetarian options. The non-meat salads were down at the very bottom in a separate section. I got a cesear salad. That was boring, but it was my best option. While I waited for it, I read over the rest of the menu and noticed that pretty much most of it was meat-based. Panera is not going to be high on my list of places to dine as a vegetarian.
My salad was by far the most disappointing meal I have eaten out as a vegetarian. It was basically a pile of lettuce, a lot of croutons, and a little bit of cheese. The quality of the lettuce was ok. There were some brown pieces in it. Anyways, moral of the story is that the next time I want a salad to go I’m planning my schedule so I can get to a better place. It won’t take that much effort.
Now, on to better things like gnocchi! My featured pick for this week is gnocchi with brown butter and sage. The recipe says it takes about two hours to make, but don’t let it fool you! That’s only if you make the gnocchi from scratch. Who does that? Not me. If you do, let me know how it goes. I would seriously be interested. If you buy gnocchi, like I do, it takes 15-20 minutes. I like to save gnocchi recipes for days when I am very busy, want to cook, but don’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
The recipe calls for shaved parmesan. I do recommend going with that just for the fun factor alone. A block of parmesan can be expensive. In the deli case at my local grocer it runs between 10-13 dollars. That’s why I have no problem buying the Digiorno brand back where they also sell Kraft products. It only cost about 5 dollars. My pasta is not going to notice if I am using 5 dollar cheese or 10 dollar cheese. Maybe if you actually make the gnocchi from scratch you should spring for the nicer cheese. Also, if you like cooking with butter (I do!) then this is the meal for you. It may seem rich, but it really wasn’t. Side note: Since I had made a cake earlier that day I ended up using nearly four sticks of butter in an eight hour time period. That’s a lot of butter for one day!
Enjoy the gnocchi: