Fall Comforts: Staple & Fancy’s Potato Gnocchi

Photo by Charlie Ainslie

Chef Ethan Stowell returns to classic Italian autumn eats.

Staple & Fancy's Potato Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu, Mint and Oregano. Photo courtesy of Charlie Ainslie.

The Scoop:  Crown prince of all things Italian-inspired from restaurants to a retail pasta line, Ethan Stowell and his wife Angela have been materializing in Seattle’s poshest neighborhoods from Belltown to Capitol Hill. His latest gastronomic gift to the city is the Mediterranean cuisine of Staple & Fancy, an eatery that specializes in an à la carte menu and a four-course, family-style supper based on both the kitchen’s disposition and available ingredients.

Crave Factor:  If Stowell’s eateries are known for anything, it’s pasta — the feel-good, carbo-heavy, Italian grandmothers-make-it-best pre-meat course. Gnocchi ($16), typically a primi piatti (first course) pasta, consists of thick, soft dumplings typically made of potato, flour or cheese. This pasta dates back to Roman times — and for the past 2,000 years, chefs have continuously reinvented it by exploiting its delicious versatility.

Stowell takes the comfort one step further and throws in lamb ragu with mint. A classic compliment in its own right, the ragu is highlighted by sweet oregano and cool mint that fills the stomach and soothes the soul. The most heartening aspect of the dish is that it’s easy to pull off at home. Although fresh pasta takes some expensive equipment like a KitchenAid with a pasta crank, Stowell is kind enough to provide a grocery line of his fresh pasta found in the refrigerated aisle to bring his comfort home with you.

Fun Fact:  Not only is Stowell an author of his own cookbook but he owns more 1,000 recipe publications from his colleagues around the world. Talk about comfort in pages.

Staple & Fancy | 4739 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle | (206) 789-1200