Ever had gnocchi before? Ever heard of gnocchi before? I hadn't until I ate at a restaurant in Little Italy in Boston years back. I have been hooked ever since.
Let's start with with the pronunciation. The 'g' is silent. The official pronunciation in Italy is (N'Yo-Kee) and it kind of rhymes with 'smoky'. Does that help? It can be found in the pasta aisle and looks like this-
These plump potato pasta dumplings are boiled then tossed with simple roasted tomatoes and garlic and topped with wilted spinach and Parmesan cheese.
Go ahead and start cooking your gnocchi according to the directions on the package and stay tuned for the secret ingredient...
Start by roasting two pints of grape tomatoes, one onion, and three large cloves of garlic that have been tossed in extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. I used a large dice on the onions and garlic to keep it somewhat chunky. 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes should do the trick. When the grape tomatoes burst open and their skin splits slightly, it's ready.
And now for the secret ingredient that won't cost you a dime. Reserve 1/2 a cup of the cooking water from the gnocchi before you drain it. When you toss it in with the other ingredients, it helps bind them with a creamy, carb-filled consistency. I am not sure if that is how Rachel Ray describes it, but is't the best I can do!
When the gnocchi and roasted tomatoes are finished, combine them in a pot, along with the reserved cooking water and stir gently. Toss in a few handfuls of spinach and allow it to wilt. Add some shredded Parmesan cheese and combine.
Roasted Tomato Gnocchi with Spinach and Parmesan Cheese
If you are looking for a simple substitute for the gnocchi, this is wonderful over angel hair pasta!