Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Easy Dinner: Gnocchi with Creme Fraiche and Lemon Zest

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Wondering what to cook tonight? So was I the other day when I decided to take everything out of my fridge and see what's what. Turns out, I had the fixin's for a delicious meal. On friday, I'd bought fish for dinner, but then the hubby called up and said he had to work late. I hate putting a lot of effort into dinner for me and baby girl largely because she doesn't eat with the incredible gusto she use to. She's still good, but much of the time, she'll eat a few bites and then start desperately crying out, I wanna get down!

Even better is when baby girl takes a bite and then shakes her head and says, I dun like it! She use to eat anything I put in front of her. It was wonderful, but now that she can talk and express her likes and dislikes, that's what she does... all the time. However, I have to admit that she's an incredible eater and I'm proud that her favorite foods are fish and olives and apples and, yeah, if I'm honest with myself, ice cream, chocolate and cake.

That day, when I pulled everything out of my fridge, I had just been to the market and along with the fish, I'd scored some ricotta gnocchi, pecorino cheese, creme fraiche and pea shoots. Baby girl and I were exhausted after nearly three hours at the playground and I just wanted something easy and tasty. So, I boiled the gnocchi and when it was done, I mixed it up with some creme fraiche and pea shoots and lemon zest and topped it with pecorino. I was blown away by how tasty it was. All told, dinner took twenty minutes to make.

The thing about seasonal ingredients at their peak is that you don't have to do much to make some phenomenal meals. Even Alice Waters, queen of the locavore movement, said in her 60 Minutes interview that initially she was after flavor. That's what drew her to the farmers and that's what helped shape her philosophy. The more I cook with great ingredients, the more I learn and the better my instincts become. Three years ago, I wouldn't have created this dish. I would have looked at the gnocchi and boiled it with butter bypassing the pea shoots and creme fraiche for fear of messing it all up. Now, I look and get inspired and I try new things and more and more often I'm hitting a bull's eye.

Ricotta Gnocchi with Creme Fraiche, Lemon Zest and Pea Shoots
(Not only is this the fastest dinner I've made in some time, it was a hit with baby girl. Serve with a side salad and you're golden.)

What You'll Need: 
3-4 cups Ricotta Gnocchi
3 tbsp Creme Fraiche
Zest of one Lemon
3 Handfuls Pea Shoots
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place a pot of salted water over a high heat and bring to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook until they're floating. About 3-4 minutes. Strain the gnocchi and return to the pot. Turn the heat down to low and return the pot to the burner. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir for a few minute until the pea shoots are just wilted. Serve in bowls or family style on a platter and enjoy!!

Approximate Cost:
Groceries: It's really dependent on the cost of the gnocchi, but our groceries came to $8
Cost per Meal: 4 meals for 4 adults;)

This Time Last Year: Simply Sausage

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  1. You've done it again! You have made me so hungry! But I will have to wait until tomorrow to fetch the ingredients and whip some of these gnocchi up for dinner. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Sounds delicious! And don't forget it is easy to make your own creme fraiche- details over at my place...

  3. Okay, Peggy, now I'm really angry. It's hours til dinner and I want to eat this gnocchi NOW.

  4. I make up dinners all the time, and darling hubby will be like, "That's good." And, I say ... Thanks.I made it up. :o)

  5. Have you ever made homemade gnocchi? It's something I've wanted to try. My husband's great aunt, who is Italian, made us a meal once, called (and I'm not sure how it's spelled) "pizzaka." It was similar to gnocchi, and buried in butter and it was amazing.

  6. Wow, Kris, I'm going to have to look up Pizzaka.

    I have made gnocchi. In fact I wrote about it on this blog last year! I'll put the link up next week.

    Frugal Kiwi - I should make my own creme fraiche. I can't believe it's that easy.

  7. I love a recipe that only has 5 ingredients, especially if two of them are flavorings (lemon, salt etc).

  8. Wow, that looks awesome and very tasty! I somehow don't think I'd be able to whip up something like that out of my fridge. Not unless elves invaded my kitchen and gave it a leftover makeover. :-)

  9. This looks lovely. I've never cooked with pea shoots before, though I love peas (and grow them every year in my garden). And I'm always looking for quick vegetarian meals, so I'm definitely bookmarking this one.

  10. I swear reading food blogs will be the death of me. I'm going to keel over from the pleasure of simply looking at and thinking about wonderful food.

  11. this looks like my kind of simple dinner feast.
    am digging the whole pea shoots thing. thanks for another fine idea.



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