I am a self-declared pasta junkie (make that Italian food junkie), but have tendency to forget all about it during the warmer weather months. I often delegate these coveted carbs to fall and winter, when I am craving a hearty lasagna or a rich bolognese. I recently had an Aha! moment when I realized that fresh summer vegetables are just begging to be paired with pastas of all kinds—and not just in the obvious pasta salad. I know I am probably the last person to think of this, but surely better late than never.
This recipe for sweet corn and squash gnocchi came to me on a whim. As much as I love gnocchi, I almost never make it from scratch, and I definitely forget to buy it packaged from the grocery store. Thanks to this new recipe, I will definitely be stocking up from here on out. More than just convenient, the brilliance of gnocchi is that it cooks in mere minutes, and the beauty of summer produce is that it needs next to no cooking. Combine the two and you have a lighting-fast, healthy, and—most importantly—delicious dinner on the table.
After devouring the last bit of pasta for lunch, I started thinking about the countless possibilities for this versatile dish. It could be dressed up for guests with slivers of salty prosciutto, or garnished with buttery sourdough bread crumbs. It might be paired with earthy sautéed chanterelles, or tossed with a handful of blistered cherry tomatoes. Fresh ricotta, even mozzarella would be divine. Just think how good homemade pappardelle would be? Oh, the many fabulous choices. How will I ever choose?
Come to think of it, I may have just found my ultimate "quick" dinner recipe. And you, what's your favorite summer meal-in-a-hurry?
Gnocchi with Squash & Sweet Corn
1 (16 ounce) package vacuum-sealed gnocchi (from the dried pasta aisle)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, very thinly sliced
1 cup sweet yellow corn kernels (from about two ears)
2 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Squeeze of lemon
2 ounces soft goat cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Toss warm gnocchi with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large, flat-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the butter until it begins to bubble and turn light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to let it burn. Add the zucchini, squash, corn, and garlic and sauté until warmed through, another 2 - 3 minutes.
Turn off heat and stir the cooked gnocchi into the vegetables. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with small hunks of goat cheese and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)