Triple Mushroom and Cipollini Gnocchi

With meetings and events and travels, I have hardly taken a breath to spend quality time over the stove, prepping and plating meals of my imagination. Thus, New Years Day posed my ultimate opportunity. I gathered gorgeous recipe rip-outs and jotted-down notes, ventured to the grocery and prepared five plates. No, they did not go together; yes, each was wonderful. My mother was my sous chef--I miss spending routine nights with her in the kitchen--and we had a few friends over to taste the large quantities of food. Among these dishes was a triple mushroom gnocchi, which requires attentive handling and extra time for caramelizing. Sure, a quick sauté will satisfy; though the extra thirty minutes yield naturally sweet undertones and a fragrant kitchen you'll never forget.

As I stood over the range with my wooden spoon that evening, oblivious to time or schedule, I realized the reason for Caramelized. The blog is about unleashing those extra moments--the commonly forgotten step or the seemingly unnecessary break--that bring out the most treasured moments (and meals, too). Time is precious. So, let's allow ourselves to spend extra time in that invigorating novel, or on that "never-ending" walking trail, or at that relative's home we're ready to escape. Who knows--the sweetest moments might arise from such extra focus. I'm confident they will.

Makes 6 servings

2 pounds mixed mushrooms, sliced into 1-inch pieces (I prefer baby bella, shiitake and trumpet) 1 pound cipollini onions, peeled and quartered 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 pound gnocchi 1 pound shrimp, sautéed in olive oil (optional, for main course topping) Kosher salt and pepper Italian parsley, to garnish Shaved parmesan, to garnish

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and continuously toss until fragrant, approx. 30 seconds.

2. Add onions and mix, caramelizing for approximately 10-12 minutes. Onions should be translucent yet hold their shape.

3. Add butter and, upon melting, add mushrooms. Turn heat down to medium and toss occasionally, caramelizing mushrooms for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook for 3 minutes (or according to package instructions). Drain and add gnocchi to mushroom medley. Stir until gnocchi is golden brown and crisped, approx. 3 minutes. See image above for visual guidance.

5. To serve, plate gnocchi with shrimp, a sprinkle of parmesan and Italian parsley.