Monday, February 23, 2009

Gnocchi + spinach + pine nuts + brown butter sauce = delicious

The first time I tried Gnocchi was in 2005 at Pasta Plus* in Laurel, Maryland. Dan and I went out to dinner with his mom, dad, sister, and her husband. I think it was the first time I met Dan's Mom and Dad.

So this meal predates my (un?)healthy obsession with all things food. I was living in a studio apartment. My kitchen, if you could call it that, had one foot of counter space. Barely any cupboard space. The fridge sort of blocked the doorway, so you had to enter sideways. The fridge door opened into the hallway. The oven door, when pulled open, came within one inch of hitting the wall. So ya, my "kitchen" was small. Very small. It made cooking a hassle. And if you know me, I hate hassles.

So back to dinner at Pasta Plus. I read over the menu and thought the Gnocchi Verde sounded good, only I didn't know what Gnocchi was. I asked our waitress and I remember she described them as potato dumplings, like little potato pillows. I was sold. My dish came and I fell in love immediately.

Four years later my love for Gnocchi has not wavered. I'm now living in Endicott, NY, where we have quite a few excellent Italian places who all have great Gnocchi dishes. When I cook it at home I use the vacuum packed Gnocchi. It's as fresh as your going to get without making your own. Which is something I've been meaning to do, but haven't had time. I think it looks like fun, and I really like the idea of having freshly made Gnocchi at home.

Brown Butter Gnocchi with Spinach and Pine Nuts
Adpated from


16oz package vacuum-packed gnocchi
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
10oz package fresh baby spinach
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 oz finely shredded Parmesan cheese


Cook gnocchi according to package directions; drain.

Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts to pan; cook 3 minutes or until butter and nuts are lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute. Add gnocchi and spinach to pan; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Side note: If you ever find yourseful in Laurel, MD, I highly recommened Pasta Plus. The food is bloody amazing!

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