The world is a cruel and dark place. The most beloved show of all time (that’s a claim I’m making without basis but I feel to be true) is beginning its last season. Game of Thrones. Was that not clear? Even worse, it’s being split up over the next two years. If that’s not George R. R. Martin-style torture, I don’t know what is. Well I do know what is… and it involves a lot more blood and cannibalism… but this is pretty bad too.
I think we’re all curious what’s going to happen, especially now that the show has surpassed the books. It’s no longer in GRRM’s hands. Yeah, I know he shared the outcomes with them, but it just doesn’t FEEL like his anymore.
But knowing it will be his end game, I have a few theories in mind and they aren’t all that positive. I have created three recipes, one for each of my ideas on how the series will end. I know that when all is said and done, I’ll have been ridiculously wrong, but it’s fun to speculate.
Today is the day! The season premiere and my final recipe! I’ve posted the other two recipes the past two days. Feel free to chime in with your own speculations!
The Mad Queen
Daenerys has been our baby child, ray of hope through the entire series. We saw her as an abused little child, being sold off to a savage horse lord. We saw her come into her own as she walked through flame and ash to emerge as the mother of dragons. We saw her free slaves and fight adversity to become the breaker of chains. And now we see her set sail for Westeros to claim what is rightfully hers, the Iron Throne.
But is it? Hers I mean. The whole reason the throne was taken from her family in the first place was that generations of incest had caused her father to lose his damn mind. I feel that there have been subtle hints throughout the show that lead us to believe she is destined for the same fate. She is even a bit troubled by it herself. When she left behind Daario Naharis, she questioned how she could do so without feeling anything. She has a hunger for her throne and for power that may very well consume her sanity.
Enter, Jon Snow. We have kind of confirmed (but not really) that he is of Targaryen blood… something we have all been speculating for years. And he is the ice to her fire. Will he see the madness in her and be forced to take her life? Will the dragons respond to him in the same way they respond to Dany because he has fire in his blood? Is HE both fire AND ice?
I also want to take this moment to speculate that perhaps Tyrion’s real father was Mad King Aerys. We know he lusted for Joanna Lannister. Perhaps he took what he wanted from her one night. Maybe that’s why the dragons were so accepting of Tyrion when he went to free them.
I think all of this has a lot of merit. While it may not all come true, I can definitely see bits of it playing a bit role in the next season.
That being said, below is a recipe for Dany’s Power Hungry Casserole. Delicate homemade gnocchi and lots of charred meat bits, sauced in bloody red tomatoes. Oh, and cheese. Gotta have cheese.
Happy Premiere Day!
Dany’s Power Hungry Casserole
(gnocchi and sauce directly adapted from Marc Vetri’s cookbook, Mastering Pasta)
½ lb ground beef
½ lb ground italian sausage, sweet
½ lb italian sausage links, hot
⅔ cup panko bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
parmesan cheese, shredded
fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 ½ lbs (680 g) russet potatoes
½ cup (25 g) parmesan cheese
⅛ tsp (.3 g) freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
½ egg, beaten (beat the egg and weigh it, then measure out half)
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp (133 g) tipo 00 flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups (480 g) whole canned san marzano tomatoes, squished with your hands
½ tsp (1 g) red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
20 fresh basil leaves, rinsed and torn into pieces
To make meatballs, combine beef, sweet sausage, bread crumbs and eggs in a bowl. Mix together with your hands. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Roll small balls and drop into skillet. Turn every couple of minutes until they are a nice medium brown. Remove to a paper towel to drain. You may need to work in sections.
Next, slice the hot italian sausage links. Cook in the same skillet, turning until cooked through. Also, remove to paper towels. Set aside.
Be sure the oils in the pan from the meats equal about ½ cup. Add in the 2 cloves of minced garlic for the sauce and cook for about a minute, until light brown and fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Turn stove to a low simmer and allow to cook while you prepare the gnocchi. Salt and pepper to taste.
While the sauce is cooking, place potatoes (skin on) in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil until a knife easily slides in and out of them, 25-30 minutes. Immediately transfer the potatoes to a cutting board and peel. (You may need gloves, they are hot!) Coarsely chop the potatoes and pass them through a potato ricer onto a lightly floured work surface. Spread them out so the excess moisture evaporates. Let the potatoes cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle them with ¼ cup (25 g) of parmesan cheese and fresh nutmeg.
Use a bench scraper to cut all of the seasonings into the potatoes and blend thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (They are potatoes, you’ll likely need a lot, don’t be afraid of it.) Gently work in the flour until the dough just comes together. Knead the dough until it has a uniform consistency (about 1 minute, do not overwork it).
Cut the dough into four sections. Roll each piece on a floured surface until you have a long rope, about ½ inch in diameter. Cut the rope crosswise into ½ pieces. To make them cute, you can press your thumb into each one as you roll it on a floured, grooved gnocchi board. But this is fancy and unnecessary. Transfer the finished gnocchi to a heavily floured cookie sheet. You can cover and refrigerate them up to 8 hours if you aren’t ready to use them.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Heat salted water to a low boil in a large pot. Gently lower in your gnocchi and cook anywhere between 2-5 minutes. It really depends on a lot of factors, just keep an eye on them and taste as needed. You want a springy texture in your finished gnocchi. You don’t want it to just flatten when you squeeze it.
Strain your gnocchi and place into the casserole dish. Stir a ladleful of your pasta water into your prepared sauce and add in torn basil leaves. Pour sauce over gnocchi. Add in prepared meats and toss to coat. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top and then lay enough mozzarella slices to cover the entire casserole.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until cheese is just starting to brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.