As summer draws near, I have been thinking about my favorite go-to-fancy-but-super-easy-so-it-impresses-a-lot-of-people-recipe: Gnocchi with summer vegetables. There is something about Gnocchi that makes people ooo and aaahh. It seems so exotic and Italian. I remember the first time I had this lovely potato dumpling. I was in Frankfurt Germany of all places and had just gone to the temple for the first time. We stopped at a little Italian joint afterwards and I wanted to try it, just because of the name. I had no clue what a gnocchi was, but it sounded cool. It was chewy and starchy and wonderful. It was love at first bite.
When I think of Gnocchi I think of really heavy stick to your ribs kind of food. Not with this recipe. It was surprisingly lighter than I would have thought. As much as I always want to make gnocchi by hand, it’s one of those things I have never gotten around to. Maybe now that I have my new handy dandy potato ricer I will give it a go. I normally buy the pre-packaged kind. You can find it in the pasta aisle or you can find the frozen stuff in the frozen aisle. Ether one will do. Once everything is cut and ready to go this meal comes together very quickly. It is simple, yet quick, yet fancy and that is why I like it. I substitute dry basil when I don’t have fresh on hand and it turns out ok, but it’s always better with the fresh stuff. It’s also great with grilled chicken. Some say they want to try the recipes I post, but they seem too hard or take too much time. Well this one’s for you.
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 zucchini or summer squash, or one of each (about 2 pounds total), quartered and sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
• 1 package (15 to 16 ounces) frozen gnocchi
• 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
• 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add squash and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 2 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi according to package instructions. Reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid, drain gnocchi and transfer to skillet. Toss gnocchi, adding enough cooking liquid to create a sauce. Remove from heat and stir in basil, cheese, butter, and lemon juice.