Gnocchi “Not So” Nicoise

This is a slightly modified version of Giada D’s Gnocchi Nicoise. It sounded interesting, and who doesn’t love gnocchi? So I had to give it a try. We all loved it. I’m actually contemplating skipping the gnocchi sometime and trying the rest as a base for a Shepherd’s Pie. So why is my version Not So? Because I had no idea what Nicoise Olives were. I supposed I should have looked that up before I went shopping, but I knew the store I was going to had a huge olive bar, so I assumed that would be one of their offerings. Not so. I know we all love the spicy garlic olives, so I opted for a mix of Kalamatas and Huge Green Olives stuffed with Pimento and swimming in a sea of garlic. Turns out Nicoise olives are little black brined ones. Oh well, we certainly didn’t miss them!

4+ oz bacon, diced  (gotta use extra bacon!)
4 cloves garlic, smashed  
   (or 3-4 T minced jarred garlic with red pepper)
1/2 lb ground beef
2 T red wine 
   (Fish Eye Cabernet worked great)
3 shallots, chopped
1 c diced carrot
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 T tomato paste
kosher salt / p;epper
15 oz can plum tomatoes 
   (or 14.5 oz can Delmonte Zesty Jalapeno diced tomatoes)
1 c low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
peel from one med orange, with some flesh attached
1 c spicy garlic mixed olives, chopped
1 pkg (1 lb) vacuum-packed gnocchi

I know, I know! It’s time to start making my own Gnocchi! 
Heat the oil over med-high. Add the bacon and garlic, and cook until the bacon starts to brown, about 4”. Add the beef and cook, stirring often, for another 3”. Add the wine, shallots, carrots, celery, and tomato paste until veggies soften, about 4” more, then season with salt and pepper.

 Mmmmm, looks yummy already!

Ooh, that just reminded me of some Sloppy Joe’s we doctored up a while back. We had a bunch of half veggies (zucchini, etc.) leftover from another dish that we didn’t want to go to waste, so we diced them all up, sauteed them briefly, and added them to Sloppy Joe’s.  Awesome!!!

Stir in the tomatoes, broth, bay leaves, orange peel, and olives. 

Bring to a simmer, lower heat, cover and cook 20”. Uncover, increase heat to a boil, and let it cook down, stirring frequently, to thicken the sauce.

Boil the gnocchi in salted water until they start to float to the top, then drain immediately so they don’t get mushy. Remove the orange peel and bay leaves from sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the gnocchi with the sauce and chow down!!