Monday, June 25, 2007

Gnocchi for All

Ever since I had the penne with shrimp, sundried tomatoes, and pine nuts at Aya's with Brian and his family a few weeks back, I've been having a moment with pine nuts. First, I made the pasta salad with ravioli and pine nuts from 101 Cookbooks. Then I made this tasty gnocchi with shrimp, asparagus, and pesto, adapted from the July 2007 issue of my trusty Cooking Light magazine. This is super fast and very easy to adapt for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores without extra steps and excessive clean-up. This also makes the perfect summer al fresco meal.

The recipe calls for toasted pine nuts but I usually accidentally forget this step. If you toast, knock yourself out. If you don't, it is still just as delicious, although toasting does enhance the nuttiness and flavor. This dish is also even yummier when you have it with a glass of chenin blanc by Beringer's. A small note on my wine pairing technique: this bottle is $7.99 and tastes good. Therefore, I pair it with the dish.

Gnocchi with Shrimp and Asparagus Pesto (suitable for pescetarians and
omnivores; dietary adjustments follow)

2 quarts plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1 (16 ounce) package of gnocchi (note: check label to make sure it is
vegetarian; some pacakges contain egg or mono- and diglycerides, which are
often animal-derived)
4 cups slices of asparagus (about 1 pound)
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp *
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted or untoasted
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese **
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 teaspoons fresh or bottled minced garlic
4 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used Kosher)

1. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add gnocchi; cook about 4
minutes (you will know they are done when they float to the top). Remove gnocchi
with slotted spoon or strainer and place in large bowl; leave this water in the
pan and don't turn off the heat. Place asparagus and shrimp in pot; let cook for
about 4 to 5 minutes or until shrimp is done (shrimp will quickly turn coral and
shrink in size--don't cook much past this point). Add asparagus and shrimp
to gnocchi in bowl.

2. Combine 1 tablespoon water, basil, and next four ingredients (through
garlic) in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping sides as needed to
combine everything. Add oil (drizzle through food chute with processor still on
if you can find the attachment--I did not and it still came out fine). Process
until well- blended. Add salt and basil mixture to gnocchi mixture. Toss until
well-coated. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Serving Size: 2 cups
355 calories, 9.3 grams fat, 26.5 grams protein, 3 grams fiber

* To make lacto-vegetarian: Omit shrimp. Or, if making for a mixed crowd, you can boil the shrimp separately from the asparagus by placing it in the water after the gnocchi and asparagus has been drained. Place in a separate bowl to keep it away from the main meal and whoever wants shrimp can just spoon it onto their plate.

** To make vegan: Omit shrimp and omit cheese from pesto mixture. If making for a mixed crowd, you can sprinkle the cheese on the final dish of those who want it.


JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I love pine nuts and pasta. It just really works together!

Sky said...

Hooray for Chenin Blanc! It is one of my favorites. Have you tried the Sula Chenin Blanc from India? It will blow your mind... especialy when eaten with a good curry.

Oh, and the food sounds good too. :)

The Lazy Vegan said...

This sounds really good, Joselle!

Joselle said...

Sky! I will definitely keep in mind the Sula Chenin Blanc. I really love that wine. It's slightly sweet but has a real, nice kick to it.