Cafe Society

Recipe Wednesday: Gnocchi with tomato sauce and porcini mushrooms

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.

"So these two Italians sat down to dinner...and start talking tomato sauce -- at least that's something that we like to imagine a lot of Italian families talking about," says Ariss. "Tomato sauce, after all, is all-important and something that every pasta-loving Italian cook has in their repertoire," plus, adds Ariss, "so many all-important things are discussed amidst heaping piles of spaghetti with tomato sauce."

Enter Nicola Peduzzi, matriarch of the Peduzzi family, who owns and runs Rustichella D'Abruzzo, and Rolando Beramendi, the founder of Manicaretti Italian food importers. "Destined to be a match made in heaven, Rolando fell in love with the purposeful simplicity of Nicola's cooking, and what started as a way for their family to utilize their own stone-ground wholewheat flour to make rustic, wholewheat pasta evolved into a thriving business dedicated to sourcing the best Italian ingredients, often from their own family farm, to make the best artisanal Italian sauces and pastas, Ariss explains. "Their tomato sauce is uncomplicated, well balanced and crazy-delicious." And it's the inspiration for today's recipe: gnocchi with tomato-porcini sauce.

"We bought the tomato sauce in bulk and got a great deal on it, and we're very excited to pass that deal along to our customers by offering these delicious sauces at a great price," says Ariss, adding while the tomato sauce "tastes wonderful on its own, add a little butter, cream, and foraged porcini mushrooms -- we get ours from Hunt & Gather -- and you've got something really special and delicious."

See also: Recipe Wednesday: bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with candy cap mushrooms

Gnocchi with tomato sauce and porcini mushrooms Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe:


3/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms 1 cup boiling water 2 tablespoons butter 1/3 cup whipping cream 1 jar Rustichella Tomato and Basil sauce 1 pound potato gnocchi 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


1. Place porcini in medium bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over. Let stand until porcini are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove porcini from water, reserving soaking liquid. Finely chop porcini. 2. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add porcini and sauté 3 minutes. Add cream and 3/4 cup soaking liquid, leaving any sediment behind in bowl. 4. Simmer until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Stir in marinara sauce; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to simmer before using.) 5. Cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. 6 Add gnocchi to sauce and toss to coat. Divide among 4 plates. Top with Parmesan and serve.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson