What’s it Like to Cook Italian Food on a Yacht?

I have always had a bucket list of things I wanted to do in my lifetime…and hanging out on a yacht in Italy was one of them (even if I realistically get ultra seasick, we can all have fantasies right?) Fortunately for my recent assignment for NBC, I got to experience the yacht without having to sail across turbulent seas.

Instead of traveling to Italy, an Italian chef came to me for a cooking lesson!  
I did have my misgivings though, as the winds were really high that day, and I wondered what could this chef cook in such a tiny kitchen on this yacht? I truly underestimated Chef Fabrizio, who methodically created his own Italian magic. His origin is the gorgeous Cinque Terre –where northern Italian villages are connected with quaint walking trails. Their food is so simple, yet so astoundingly palate popping at the same time because of their use of fresh and seasonal ingredients, truly the Mediterranean way. 

He had beautiful trays of Italian meats, cheeses, and fresh pasta he makes for his restaurant in Berkeley called Passione Emporio, where he serves up fresh pizza using locally sourced ingredients, as well as his handmade pastas. Today’s recipe features his fabulous seafood gnocchi:

Instead of pesto or marinara sauce, the sauce was simple. Garlic flavored olive oil, fresh sungold cherry tomatoes, flat leaf parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and crushed pistachios from Sicily. The star of the dish was mussels, and if you are not a fan of mussels, you can use shrimp or swordfish. 
To see how Chef Fabrizio effortlessly put together this dish, click on the video below! 

Seafood Gnocchi

  • 500g fresh gnocchi 500g
  • fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup crushed pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes (optional, for a touch of heat
  • Directions Cook the gnocchi according. Drain and set aside. In a large pan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add the halved cherry tomatoes to the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Pour in the dry white wine and vegetable broth. Let the mixture simmer for another 2-3 minutes to reduce slightly. Add the cleaned mussels to the pan and cover with a lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the mussels open up. Discard any mussels that remain closed. Stir in the cooked gnocchi and chopped parsley, allowing them to absorb the flavors of the sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) to taste. To serve, divide the gnocchi with mussels and cherry tomatoes among plates. Sprinkle the crushed pistachios over each serving for a delightful nutty crunch. Garnish with additional fresh parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.

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