A couple weeks ago I was listening to my favorite cooking radio show, A Splendid Table. One of the guests said that when she was 16 years old she decided she was Italian. I’ve gone through a similar experience. I love Italy—Italian food, the culture and the beautiful cities. This love of Italy has grown after several family trips and it really hit home when I studied abroad in Florence and studied wine and food pairing—life doesn’t get much better than that. Most of my indulgent recipes are Italian dishes, although not all may stick to the traditional and classic Italian cuisine. I like to take many recipes and lighten them up to a more healthful version but also indulge every once and a while (cough cough this recipe).
Here is a fairly simple recipe for gnocchi and creamy pesto. Gnocchi is the easiest pasta to make and is also really cheap. This recipe turned out really well and I am definitely going to try it again soon, especially because it’s such a great fall comfort food!
For the gnocchi:
3 small- medium sized potatoes
2 cups all- purpose flour
For the creamy pesto:
½ cup pine nuts
1 small bunch kale, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves
1 ½ cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
½ cup nonfat milk
Start by making the fresh gnocchi. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel potatoes and add to pot. Cook until tender but still firm, about 20 minutes. Drain, cool and mash with a fork or potato masher.
Combine the mashed potatoes, flour and egg into a large bowl. Knead until dough forms a ball. Shape small portions of the dough into long “snakes.” On a floured surface, cut snakes into half- inch pieces.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in gnocchi and cook for 3-5 minutes or until gnocchi have risen to the top; drain and serve.
For the pesto, combine the basil, chopped kale and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the garlic. Pulse a few more times.
Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
Combine milk and flour into a saucepan and warm. Once the flour has dissolved completely and the combination has warmed, add the pesto from the food processor and stir.