Good Monday morning to you!! Can you believe that Spring starts tomorrow?!!! I am so pumped for the warmer weather!! Unfortunately, here in the Northeast, they're saying we're in for another snowstorm this week, but we'll just keep our fingers crossed on that and hope that all their fancy meteorological equipment is wrong, big time! In any case, I'm cooking for spring and to me, nothing screams springtime more than the lemon, with all its citrusy brightness. Here, a little lemon juice and zest entirely transform a simple pasta dish into something truly memorable. Bad weather blues? Behold the power of the lemon!
There are so many reasons to love this pasta dish, but one of the biggest, is the fact that it is crazy easy to make and comes together in under 30 minutes with mainly kitchen staples. It's not entirely a one-pan meal, as you have to boil the gnocchi separately, but the veggies and sauce come together in a snap and the gnocchi only takes a couple of minutes to reach that al dente state anyway and then everything gets tossed together.
And while it's not overly saucy (which is one of the big reasons I love it so much) it's bursting with flavor and the lemony-ness goes really well with the peas, spinach and Parmesan.
Plus there's the gnocchi--who doesn't love those little chewy, light pillows of potato goodness? And if for some reason you can't get your hands on some gnocchi, just sub in whatever pasta you do have on hand and it'll be totally delicious too! That goes for the veggies as well--you could easily sub in or add mushrooms or asparagus or even some cooked diced chicken--whatever you like. This is one versatile dish--just don't leave out the lemon 'cause that's what really makes it special and different.
It's a dish that's sure to please and will definitely put that spring (pun intended) back into your step! Maybe if we all make it tonight we can collectively will winter away!!!
Gnocchi with Lemon, Spinach and Peas
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: Under 30 minutes
- 1 cup frozen peas (you don't need to thaw them)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (you could sub in half and half or whole milk--sauce will just be less cream)
- 1-2 shakes red pepper flakes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 5 ounces baby spinach (you could even use frozen spinach if you have to--I would thaw and squeeze out as much water as possible)
- Grated zest of one small lemon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 pound dried gnocchi (you can use a frozen kind too)
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Place the peas, cream, red pepper flakes, garlic and salt in a large skillet with a lid, stir together and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until peas are tender.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large salted pot of water to boil and cook gnocchi according to package directions, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta-water and then drain.
3. When peas are tender, add the spinach and cook, uncovered, stirring, until the spinach wilts. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice. Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan as well as the cheese and some of the reserved pasta-water and stir well to coat. If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit more of the water to thin it out. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese on the side.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Epicurious Cookbook by Tanya Steel. I tinkered around with this--feel free to add in more veggies--I'm going to try this with mushrooms and asparagus.