It was a hot, humid day and we'd been very busy. We wanted something simple to make and summery to eat, and that didn't make too much washing up (as my dishwasher finally gave up the ghost after years of abuse at my hands and the new one won't arrive for another week).
A rummage in the fridge yielded a pack of fresh gnocchi, bought on a whim after my home made ones had been sad and stodgy. Surely bought ones wouldn't be like that.... would they? Also a chunk of smoked ham left from the weekend, half a bag of fresh peas, a few broad beans from the garden and a stump of Parmesan. Plus, of course, the staples of eggs, butter, cream. There are no quantities for this recipe - it's a "using up what you have" dish.
I shelled the beans and peas and cut the ham into bite sized chunks. Bringing a large pan of water to the boil, I cooked the broad beans for a couple of minutes, tossed in the peas and cooked for a couple more, then added the gnocchi and after a minute or so, when they floated to the top, drained them all.
Then I dropped a knob of butter in the pan and heated the ham gently in it. Meanwhile I beat two eggs together with a couple of tablespoonfuls of double cream and lots of black pepper, and grated as much as I could get from the piece of Parmesan.
When the ham was heated through, I put the veg and gnocchi back in the pan and reheated them until piping hot, then turned off the heat and stirred in the egg and cream mixture, followed by the cheese. As soon as the eggy bits were set, I served it with green salad.
Verdict? We loved the ham, pea, bean and eggy sort-of-carbonara mixture, but still found the gnocchi stodgy. I guess it's time to admit that neither of us really likes gnocchi. I'll be repeating the dish, but next time I'll use pasta instead, cooking it until almost done before I add the veg to the pan.
Doesn't an odds-and-ends meal give you the satisfying feeling of having made a meal effectively from nothing, simply because you actually bought nothing for it? I'm joining in with a few challenges all of which welcome fridge-clearing-exercise meals. Why not visit the mall to pick up some money-saving food tips?
Credit Crunch Munch at Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours
Kitchen Clearout at Madhouse Family Reviews
No Waste Food Challenge at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary