I know there are legions gnocchi fans out there, sadly though, I have never been one. If given a choice for a Italian carbohydrate it would always be spaghetti for me. With spicy tomato sauce, carbonara, aglio e olio peperoncino, or just butter and parmesan cheese, each one my favorite.
However my daughter sent me an instagram image of seared gnocchi and I must admit I was curious. Could it really be as good as all the rave reviews?
Turns out searing it a hot cast iron pan for about 2-3 mins per side, lends a nice crispy exterior and almost chewy interior, nothing akin to my past experiences of leaden, gluey and bland gnocchi.
Add whatever vegetables you have on hand, and you have a super easy complete meal on the table in under 25 minutes.
Now, I don’t think gnocchi will ever replace spaghetti for me, however I am fairly sure it will be on weeknight dinner repeat here for a while.
- 1lb pkg of store bought gnocchi
- 4 oz cubed pancetta, or 4-6 strip bacon sliced
- 3 large shallots, sliced or a small onion sliced
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1 lb fresh asparagus, sliced
- bunch of fresh spinach
- two sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese
You will need two large sturdy frying pans here, cast iron best for gnocchi.
In the first pan over medium add the shallots and mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the shallots are soft and mushrooms beginning to brown.
Add the thyme, pepper flakes if using, and asparagus and continue to cook until asparagus fork tender.
In the meantime in the second pan cook pancetta/bacon over medium heat until crisp, set aside.
Add the gnocchi to the pan with the bacon drippings (or add olive oil) and cook undisturbed for a few minutes per side. Or until nicely browned on both sides.
Add the spinach and gnocchi to first pan, and toss with the vegetables over low heat until spinach is just wilted.
Remove from heat and serve with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese.