Tuesday, October 19, 2010

monday - gnocchi with tomatoes, pancetta, and arugula

I often say that this gnocchi recipe from eatingwell.com is what I make on nights that I don't feel like cooking, because it's so incredibly fast and easy (and it doesn't hurt that it's incredibly tasty, too). It can be made even faster by using a can of diced tomatoes, but last night I used chopped Roma tomatoes that I picked up at the farmers' market--I'm trying to enjoy fresh tomatoes while I still can, as I suspect they won't be around much longer once fall settles in. I usually use spinach in this dish, but I used arugula last night and the original recipe calls for watercress, so it's quite versatile. I love this method of wilting the greens--you place the greens in the colander used to drain the cooked gnocchi, with the hot cooking water lightly wilting the greens as it drains. This method works well when cooking pasta also. The recipe could easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the pancetta, and the sauce could be used on pasta or another grain if you can't find gnocchi.

Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Pancetta, and Arugula

2 ounces pancetta, chopped (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped tomatoes (about 2 large tomatoes) or 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound gnocchi, preferably whole wheat
4 ounces arugula or spinach, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped (6 cups packed)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Put a large pan of water on to boil.
Cook pancetta, if using, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, sugar, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes are almost completely broken down, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and salt. Remove from the heat.

Cook gnocchi in the boiling water until they float, 3 to 5 minutes or according to package directions. Place arugula (or spinach) in a colander and drain the gnocchi over the arugula, wilting it slightly. Add the gnocchi and arugula to the sauce in the pan; toss to combine. Serve immediately, with Parmesan.
Makes 4 servings.

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