Hi, Sandra here! I wanted to share with you a quick-and-easy summer vegetable dish served over homemade gnocchi…
Following a trip to our local farmers’ market, I selected some just-picked organic yellow squash, Maryland Eastern Shore tomatoes, and sweet onions to toss together a last-minute dinner.
Once back in the kitchen, I got out my large, seasoned cast iron pan and put a pot of generously salted water on the stove to boil while I quickly chopped the produce.
I sliced three medium yellow squash crosswise (about 1/4″ slices); cut two large tomatoes into generous-sized cubes; roughly chopped a large sweet onion; then minced 3 large cloves of garlic. I also rough-chopped some freshly grown Italian flat-leaf parsley and minced some herbs from my garden. For this dish, I selected basil, thyme, a touch of sage, rosemary and oregano, plus sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper. (Feel free to use any or all of these–but please don’t skip the parsley.)
By the time I was through chopping my produce and herbs, the skillet was heated up and the pasta water was gently boiling. I added a few tablespoons of EVOO to the skillet–just enough to coat the bottom–then tossed in my chopped onions and sauteed them until translucent, followed by the minced garlic. Once the garlic was fragrant, I added my chopped produce and added the fresh gnocchi to the pasta pot.
As the gnocchi cooks (it just takes a few minutes), it rises to the top and is easy to scoop out onto your serving dish. (Note: I use a long-handled Asian strainer to lift the cooked pasta and highly recommend this handy tool for a variety of cooking needs.)
Left: Chinese Long-Handled Strainer
The veggies took only a few more minutes to cook than the pasta, so just before they are fork-tender, I added the herbs (except for the parsley), salt & pepper, and stirred everything together for a minute or two. Finally, I poured the contents of the onto the gnocchi and sprinkled the dish with the chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley.
At this point, feel free to add your favorite cooked & lightly-seasoned protein–either shrimp or chicken are good choices–but this step is certainly not necessary!
- 2-3 yellow squash (or combination of yellow squash & green zucchini), chopped crosswise, 1/4″ thick
- 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped into 1/4″ cubes
- 1 large sweet onion (Vidalias are great when available)
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 3-4 T. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- ~3 T. fresh Italian herbs, chopped (basil, rosemary, a touch of sage, and oregano are nice)
- Sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
- Garnish: 1/4 C. Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Optional: Lightly-seasoned, cooked protein of choice, such as shrimp or sliced chicken
- Heat large cast-iron skillet and add EVOO
- Boil generously salted water in a pasta pot
- Add onion to cast-iron skillet and cook until just translucent
- Add minced garlic, stirring to prevent sticking
- Toss in squash and tomatoes and continue gently stirring, as required
- Add your herbs (except for parsley) and the salt & pepper when veggies are nearly fork-tender
- Meanwhile, add your fresh pasta to the rapidly boiling salted water; use a strainer or slotted spoon to remove the pasta as the gnocchi rises to the top in batches
- Place the cooked pasta into a big serving bowl; add your cooked & seasoned veggies with pan juices onto the pasta; top with fresh parsley and cooked shrimp or chicken, if desired.
Enjoy this meal with a nice summer white wine or refreshing sparkling water!
SIDEBAR: Some friends and I recently took a pasta class at Schola taught by the owners, Baltimore rock-star chefs Jerry Pelligrino and Amy von Lange. The class was great fun and we had hands-on experience learning to make a variety of freshly made pasta– along with some of the best summer pasta dishes I’ve had in a long time.
(Note: I’ll ask Jerry and Amy for permission to share some of their recipes in a future post, so stay tuned.)
(Above:) Having a great time with friends making fresh pasta and delicious summer pasta courses at Baltimore’s Schola cooking school.