Treasure Chest Thursday Recipe: Gnocchi with Spinach & Pine Nuts

IMG_3708How have I not written about this meal yet?  This meal is regularly requested and I try to keep the ingredients on hand as it is a great way to use up a green that has been sitting around a little too long.  I tend to make this recipe most often with spinach, but I have been known to toss in some chard, kale, arugula, or even collard greens.

This recipe is definitely worthy of being a Treasure Chest Thursday post.  This is one of those simple meals that has just the right amount of flavor.  It is quick and easy to prepare making it a great weeknight (aka school night) meal.

As I am writing this post I really hope my search feature is working, as I could have sworn I have already posted this recipe but each time I have searched it comes up empty for gnocchi.  I guess I have written it in my head more than once because as I am typing the thoughts sound too familiar.  I have always been a fan of gnocchi since I first had it in a pesto dish years ago.  It has also been one of those items I swear I will try and make one day, but last winter I tried what I thought would be the easier version of gnocchi to make – gnudi.  Well turns out either I totally bombed the recipe or I really did not like gnudi.

I have never seen gnudi on a menu but I keep telling myself I have to try it again and try it somewhere out to see if it was me, the recipe or if I am just not a fan of gnudi.   Gnudi is really just gnocchi made with ricotta rather than potato. The mere switch to ricotta, an ingredient I love makes me worried it was me rather than the gnudi.  I have never brought myself to make gnocchi as I am not a big fan of complex recipes with a lot of steps.  Really to make gnocchi you then have to also prepare a meal using it.  Not my favorite type of cooking.  Besides after the gnudi incident a part of me thought maybe store bought is just what I prefer when it comes to pasta.  Now don’t get me wrong I have had fresh made gnocchi as well as the vacuum packed that is great for keeping on hand and I like them both.  It is just another excuse I keep giving myself on why I do not want to try to make gnocchi from scratch.

Enough of my gnocchi and gnudi tangent.  Okay one last thing what fun words.  I wonder if anyone has ever named their animals gnocchi and gnudi – filing that idea away for when I finally have to give in to a fish or something that comes in pairs.  I can just picture two cute little dogs with those names, but we have one cute little dog now and that is ample, especially since she is not high on my list this morning.  Really now enough on to the recipe that is a treasure chest recipe in our house.IMG_3701

Gnocchi with Spinach & Pine Nuts

1 pkg gnocchi (16oz.)*

6 Tbsp. butter

4 Tbsp Toasted Pine Nuts**

3 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 1/2 – 2 bags Fresh Baby Spinach

1/4 tsp Black Pepper, optional

Parmesan Cheese, as desired

 Directions

Cook Gnocchi in boiling water according to package directions, about 5 minutes.  Omit any salt or oil.  Drain.

In a skillet over medium heat melt butter  and cook approximately 3-5 minutes stirring constantly.  The butter needs to start to turn golden brown.  Add garlic and pine nuts to pan and continuing stirring for 1 minute.  Add gnocchi and spinach and cook stirring occasionally until spinach wilts.  Season with pepper if desired.  I like to decrease my stirring once spinach is almost wilted and try to get the gnocchi to brown slightly.  Serve with parmesan cheese on top as desired.IMG_3706

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* I prefer whole wheat gnocchi, but any type works

** I use pre toasted pine nuts from Trader Joe’s, but if yours are not toasted add the pine nuts with the butter so they toast while the butter is browning.

Adapted from a recipe that appeared in Cooking Light MagazineIMG_3708

 

 

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Yellow Squash & Chard Naan Bread Pizza

 Do you eat naan bread?  Are you familiar with it?

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I had the experience of trying naan bread for the first time at a wedding for some friends.  At the time I had never eaten Indian food and I do not think I ate it again for several years.  I liked it. In fact I really enjoyed it, but I was a little intimidated to go to an Indian restaurant and order.  I was happy going to a buffet style restaurant where I could pick and choose, but even that was slightly overwhelming.  A couple years later I again had naan bread, but this time it was far more memorable.  The naan bread was being prepared fresh outside in a oven type contraption.  This is one of those food memories I will never forget.  The naan bread was hot and delicious and the garlic naan was even better.

Not long after this experience we got a Trader Joe’s in the area.  Other grocery stores may have sold naan bread, but I never noticed.  I began purchasing naan bread as I liked to heat it slightly and dip in in hummus.  One evening I was home alone and wanted something warm and comfort like to accompany a salad.  Being that I love pizza, I decided to melt cheese on naan bread.  Oh my goodness.  Naan bread pizza as it is called in our home was born.  This is now a routinely requested item for an easy dinner or a warm weekend lunch.

Several years went by before I ever saw a recipe posted in a magazine or on the internet for a similar type item.  Obviously I kicked myself as to why I did not think to make my new found food known.  Have people been making something like this for yard now or is it a new discovery that blends different traditional foods?

One evening, I noticed that our recipe must make list included a flatbread that used naan bread as a base.  The recipe also incorporated several seasonal summer ingredients.  I planned to try corn, squash, and green onion flatbread from the April 2014 Cooking Light.  However on the evening I went to make the meal, I realized I had already used all but 1 green onion and all the corn had been grilled.  As I browsed the contents of the refrigerator, I noticed a 1/2 bunch of chard that needed to be used.  Though I still want to try the original recipe one day, the result from what I hand on hand was a perfect summer pizza.

Yellow Squash & Chard Naan Bread Pizza       

1/2 bunch of chard, washed and chopped

1 yellow squash, washed and chopped

1/2 onion, sliced (I had 1 green sliced as in as well)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 cup Mozzerella cheese, sliced or shredded

1 piece of Naan bread per person

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I used the frozen Trader Joe naan bread, so as my chard, onion, and yellow squash were sautéing in a skillet, I heated some olive oil and lightly heated the naan bread as well.  Doing this helped to make a crispier base for the pizza.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a skillet over medium high heat, sauté chard, onions, and yellow squash until chard is lightly wilted and yellow squash is soft and starting to brown.  Transfer naan bread to a pizza stone or baking sheet and cover with the green mixture.  Top with mozzarella cheese and place in oven until cheese melts to desired doneness.

Though the flavors of this naan bread pizza are not Indian.  I enjoy naan bread and it makes a great quick and easy pizza dough.  Luckily I am no longer intimidated by Indian restaurants and am able to enjoy Indian style food at home and out.

Enjoy.

Printable Recipe here IMG_3085IMG_3086