Both of my sons love gnocchi and ever since I posted my recipe for Gnocchi d’Antonio back in November, my other son has been clamoring for a gnocchi recipe of his own.  So here is Gnocchi di Nicola.

Mis en Place
1 pound vacuum packed gnocchi (I use Vantia)
8-12 ounces sweet sausage, crumbled
1 package mushrooms, sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
6 campari tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 can tomato paste
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/3 pint light cream

Gnocchi di Nicolo

Saute the onion and garlic in a bit of extra virgin olive oil until softened and then add the mushrooms and sausage and cook through.   Once that is done, stir in the tomato paste and reduce the flame to low. This will actually cook and sweeten the paste. As the gnocchi are almost cooked, add the sliced tomatoes and the cream and stir through.  This is more a thick tomato based sauce tainted with cream, than the other way around.  Add the peas toward the end, mostly just for color.  You could use parsley as an alternate. 

Here’s the dish at start and finish.

Onions, Garlic and Sausage cooking

Gnocchi di Nicolo

With this dish I opened the 2004 Brancaia Ilatraia.  This is a Tuscan wine from the Maremma region, near the coast of Tuscany. The same area that has spawned the great Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Saffredi, and Guado al Tasso. It’s a region known for Cabernet and the sibling Bordeaux varietals. The region is growing to be sure, and many of Tuscany’s vintners have been acquiring vineyard land there.  
Ilitraia is 60% Cabernet, 30% Sangiovese, and 10% Petit Verdot.  However, at this stage of it’s evolution, it’s behaving like a behemoth of a Cabernet.  It’s impenetrable black in color with no lightening at the rim. The aroma is all currant and oak.  At the moment, it seems unforgiving, and some may find it overdone.  On the palate, it’s full bodied, it’s massive. The palate is covered with black fruits, minerals, and toasty oak.  I remember buying this based on the blend as a “reasonable” alternative price wise to Solaia, but at the moment, it’s more a cross between Napa and Bordeaux. The Sangiovese in the blend seems lost.  That said, I think the pieces are there.  If you have this, put it in the back of your cellar.  I’m thinking 3-5 years will soften it.   $40, approximately 90+ points, with some wait and see attached to that.   Look at this black beauty.  It’s a tongue and teeth stainer. And it also wins the award for ugliest label.  There, I said it.  What the hell were they thinking??

2004 Brancaia in Maremma Ilatraia

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