Sunday, February 20, 2011

Crispy Gnocchi with Spinach Pesto

Saturday night and its time to get my COOKIN on. Been a while since I posted a new recipe, been busy as a bee, but I have a delicious recipe that I hope yall will love.
First I LOVE pesto. Fresh pesto is SO easy to make and is just incredible. I recently discovered spinach pesto which Im crazy about. Its better for you, but you dont have to sacrifice flavor. In fact traditional pestos are all basil, but I used mostly spinach and I think it tasted great and basil was still the predominate flavor.

I really enjoyed the crunch of the toasted gnocchi, while my boyfriend missed the softness of a traditional gnocchi. I would say try toasting it, if you desire a change, but the standard boiling of gnocchi is quicker and delicious.

Note: A quick way to freshly grate parmesan cheese. Cut it into pieces and place in a food processor. Pulse until grated, less than a minute:

Note: Toasting pine nuts is easy and much better than buying them already toasted. Simply place in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the skillet frequently to ensure even browning—the pine nuts are small  and will burn quickly if you don't watch them carefully. When the nuts are fragrant and browned, take the pan off the heat. Transfer the pine nuts to a plate to cool. 

Toasted Gnocchi with Spinach Pesto

The Goods: makes 1 cup of pesto, enough for 2 servings
1 package plain gnocchi
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup basil
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted(see note)
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese(see note)
dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

The Deal: 

1.This is an optional step. If you dont want your gnocchi toasted, just follow the instructions on the package to cook your gnocchi. If you want to toast it, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi in a single layer and toss to coat with the oil. Let them cook until they are golden brown on the bottoms and then use a metal spatula to flip the gnocchi. Cook until they are golden all over. Salt, transfer to a plate and set aside.

2. While gnocchi is cooking, place pine nuts, garlic, basil, and spinach in food processor with fitted steel blade. Blend until a rough paste forms. Then begin to drizzle olive oil while continuing to blend ingredients. Blend until forms a smooth paste(picture at top of blog).

3. Place pesto in a bowl and stir in parmesan cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. 

4. Once you gnocchi is ready, place in a bowl and scoop pesto on top. Now get ready to eat your greens and love every minute!

The toasted gnocchi is based on a recipe from 101 cookbooks website. The pesto is from a few different books, such as the 3 ingredient cookbook.

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