As you may be able to tell, if you are a regular reader of this blog, we love mint. We use it often in the summer because it grows like a freaking weed. Because we live in Brooklyn, we barely have any outdoor space (but are very fortunate to have any). Yet, in that small space, we have many, many planters. Over the years, we’ve managed to inadvertently kill many varieties of plants, flowers and veggies but nothing will kill our mint. One season, a few things died unexpectedly and we thought maybe it was the soil (we coined the term “soil of death” during this depressing time – witty, I know). The “soil of death” was most definitely used when we planted the mint and even that crap couldn’t kill it! Mint is too often underused in cooking, which I don’t understand. There are a quite a few varieties of mint and some people feel very strongly about it, usually either loving it or hating it (except when it’s used in their mojito or julep). I love it but love it equally as much in my savory foods as in sweets or alcoholic bevy’s.
Many are used to sage brown butter sauces so we figured why not try it with mint? It was delicious. The heating of the mint mellowed the flavor and added a fabulous “clean” flavor to the dish. It also balanced the creaminess of the butter and paired well with the cheese. We added some breasaola because we had to use it up before it went off but if you are veggie, you can totally have a fabulous meal without it. I think some pancetta or guanciale could work as well. We found fresh fava beans which are still in season and they gave the dish a bit of chew. Don’t be scared off by making your own gnocchi. You can follow our easy-to-read instructions. Gnocchetti just refers to the size – we cut our gnocchi much smaller than we usually do about 3/4 an inch long. We decided not to run each gnocchi over a fork, hence why they don’t have their traditional ‘ridges’.
So embrace your mint, give it some love. Hell, you don’t even need to tend to it in your garden unless it’s taking it over and killing your other plants (which can definitely happen). If it is, make a huge batch of this dish, make a giant vat of mojitos and forget your problems.
- 1 batch of our Potato Gnocchi Recipe (just cut the gnocchi about 3/4 of an inch long and don’t run it over the fork)
- about 30 fava beans, shelled (click link for excellent step-by-step instructions)
- 6 slices of bresaola, rolled up and sliced into thin strips (optional – could also use pancetta ir salami, etc)
- 20 mint leaves (leave 15 whole and chiffonade the rest into ribbons)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese
- pinch of salt and pinch of fresh pepper
What to do:
- Make your gnocchi.
- Add one tablespoon of butter and, on medium heat, saute your fava beans for a minute. Add in the sliced bresaola and cook for about 30 seconds or so.
- Remove the gnocchi and favas and reserve on a plate.
- While your gnocchi are cooking in boiling, salted water, make your sauce. Add the rest of the butter along with the unsliced mint and a pinch of salt. Allow it to foam up a bit and turn brownish (about 1 to 2 minutes).
- In the sauce, add the cooked gnocchi, the favas and bresaola and toss. Add some fresh pepper, the cheese and chiffonade of mint. Toss together and serve with a big glass of white wine. Enjoy!