Hi everyone! Hope you all are safe and doing well!
I am so happy that so many people are in the kitchen cooking! I think that is definitely one positive outcome of this quarantine situation. And I appreciate those of you who have contacted me to tell me they have turned to this site for recipes over the past few weeks! That makes me super happy!
These are crazy times and they have become the inspiration behind this post today.
Sometimes we just need to crank out a meal without much effort. For me it’s been 5 straight weeks of cooking 6 out of 7 days a week. So I’m stocking my fridge with ingredients and pre packaged foods, so that I can whip up these “semi-homemade” meals in no time at all! This gnocchi recipe is one of them.
Creating a semi-homemade meal is somewhat of an art. You can turn basic store-bought ingredients into an elegant looking meal with just a few simple personal touches.
I have a few tips that will help you out:
My first and most important tip is to make sure you have some fresh herbs on hand. It can be any herb really. I usually keep basil and parsley in the fridge, but chives are also a goodie. Right now I have a pot of basil by my sink so I snagged a few leaves for this recipe. Herbs are a great way to liven up store bought ingredients. They add a pop of color while supplying the dish with fresh homemade goodness.
My second tip is to have some key canned goods stocked in your pantry at all times, so you can use them as add-ons. My favorites are artichokes, sundried tomatoes, (any and all) beans, capers and olives. These sundried tomatoes were the perfect sweet and salty addition to the pre-made pesto I had bought last week. I also drizzled some of the oil from the tomatoes onto the gnocchi before serving to give the pesto an even stronger hint of tomato flavor (which I happen to really love). They also added a pop of contrasting color to the dish, another important element in a semi-homemade meal.
Can we digress from the tips a moment to talk about this pesto? I’m obsessed with these little containers of pre-made pesto. I popped a few in my freezer so I can use them anytime. They’re great with pasta dishes but can also help liven up soups, rice dishes and even salads!
A third tip is to have a variety of nuts and seeds in your pantry to use as garnish (and they make great healthy snacks also). Besides the fact they’re super good for you, they add a layer of texture and earthy flavor. Sunflower, pumpkin and hemp seeds, along with walnuts, almonds and pine nuts are great choices. For this recipe, I used walnuts just because that is my personal preference.
Finally, presentation is everything! This tip is particularly important when presenting your dish to guests at a dinner party for example (not that anyone should be doing that now, but something to keep in mind for the future). Serving on a pretty platter or dish, is visually appealing. We eat with our eyes too!
This recipe came together in 20 minutes but looks like I spent hours in the kitchen. What’s better than that?
- 6 oz container favorite pre made pesto (brought to room temperature).
- 16 oz gnocchi
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 3-4 sundried tomatoes packed in oil (chopped into ½ inch pieces) * make sure to save 1-2 tbsp of the oil
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- grated cheese for topping
- coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Cook gnocchi according to package instructions.
- Drain the gnocchi and add to a large serving bowl.
- Toss the gnocchi with desired amount of pesto.
- Add the sundried tomatoes and toss again.
- Taste and season with coarse salt or pepper if needed.
- Drizzle some of the oil from the sundried tomatoes on top of gnocchi for an additional burst of flavor.
- Top with fresh basil and garnish with walnuts.
- Sprinkle with grated cheese as desired.