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What to serve with gnocchi?

I am hosting a girls night for 8 in a couple weeks. All the girls want to try my homemade gnocchi. So I am making gnocchi in sage and brown butter sauce but am stumped as to what I can serve it with. I am trying to stay away from a big hunk of meat in order to keep the meal kind of light-ish, although I know that gnocchi isn't the lighest thing to serve!
Any ideas?
I will of course be serving a bunch of different snacks, and of course wine and cheese, and chocolate mousse for dessert.
Any suggestions would be great!
Thanks.

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  1. A big beautiful tossed salad is about all you'll need - maybe some bread.

    1. You need sides that are simple (plain, that is - a very complex side will overwhelm the simplicity of the gnocchi), not warm, and crunchy. A very plain green salad (not a mixed salad with tons of crap), dressed only with good oil, vinegar salt and pepper; or a very simple light slaw (with more of a vinaigrette than creamy dressing). And perhaps some roasted seasonal vegetables (no more than three types). No other starches.

      1. you're right gnocchi isn't the lightest thing in the world (not that it isn't really good though).

        Salad always works
        Sauteed broccoli rabe would be good
        roasted artichokes with a little balsamic

        I would think of things with some acidity aspect to them to help "lighten" the mouth feel of the gnocchi.

        1. Ladoo, unless it is super duper light, I would maybe want to a flavor other than chocolate for dessert. Maybe lemon something, or a fruit dessert? Your gnocchi sounds wonderful.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pinehurst

            Thanks all for your responses!! I'm going to do a salad with maybe some toasted pine nuts (after I check with the girls on food allergies), and a simple vinaigrette. I will also serve some roasted root vegetables. Our supermarket has TONS of Ontario vegetables and they are all lovely.
            For dessert, I consider a lemony or fruit dish instead. A tart of sorts perhaps. Of course - with Ontario fruits! Thank you for that suggestion, pinehurst.
            I'm going to serve everything family style on my wedding china. We are going to be so fancy (for the first part of the evening anyway, lol).
            Can't wait!
            Thanks again!!

            1. re: ladooShoppe

              Make sure your pine nuts are not from Asia. A lot of people are getting "pine mouth" from the nuts from the Asian species of pin, and most pine nuts that are affordable in the grocery store are from Asia. Walnuts are easier, safer (so long as no one has a nut allergy), and cheaper.

          2. How about a nice pureed vegetable soup to start, then gnocchi and salad or sauteed spinach or the like?

            3 Replies
            1. re: visciole

              Ooooo, soup! I didn't even think of that! Cream of cauliflower perhaps?? Cream of carrot and parsnip?? So many good ideas! Thanks!!

              1. re: ladooShoppe

                Or you can use Marcella Hazan's fabled tomato sauce with butter and onion as a soup (which she recommends - I hate tomato soup, but this is my favorite soup to serve before serving a souffle), especially if you can get fresh local (ideally plum) tomatoes.

                From the Home Cooking Board (and direct recipe inquiries to that board rather than this one):

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4213...

                1. re: Karl S

                  That's funny, because I often serve Marcella's Tomato Sauce 2 (no butter, but a generous quantity of olive oil) with a bit of milk and black pepper as a soup. It's very good.

                  Personally with the butter-sage sauce and gnocchi I would elect to make a non-creamed soup, but that's just me. I like to make various vegetable purees with potatoes or white beans to thicken and give it a nice creamy mouth-feel without the extra dairy.

                  One of my favorites is asparagus white bean soup (tastes like asparagus -- the beans just lend it a nice texture and fuller body.)