It’s been a disconcerting week to say the least. While I’ve been fortunate enough to not have been directly affected by Sandy’s devastation, the stories, the news, and the updates from friends have been a reminder of how delicate everything really is. Not to mention that my 917-based phone has been on the fritz ever since the start of this week, so every time I go to dial, it’s proof that the east coast is still getting back on its feet.
It’s times like this that I look upon my affected friends and family and wish there wasn’t so many thousands of miles separating us. That I could console them, help them get their lives back on track, and, if nothing else, serve them a warm meal. It’s times like this when a good dose of comfort food is in order.
Comfort food preferences are as personal as it gets as they’re deep rooted in our past and, largely connected to our family’s heritage. For me, the ultimate comfort food is gnocchi. That’s because the comfort not only comes in those pillows of soft baked potato but in the making of the dish as well — the mixing, rolling, cutting, and shaping, which is a choreography that’s intrinsically cathartic.
I didn’t grow up eating this style of gnocchi — we were quite the traditionalists — but for the last few years this Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic-Brown Butter Sauce has been a cold weather staple. So, though I can’t be with my many friends affected back east, in my heart this is the dish I’d offer them. Along with a hug, a big glass of red wine, and the security that I’ll always be there for them.