Gnocchi reminds me of my childhood in Bangkok. Isn’t that weird? Small, potato dumplings, native to Italy, remind me of my childhood growing up in Thailand, the land of chili peppers and fish sauce. But, believe it or not, the first time I ever tried these incredible, pillowy dumplings of deliciousness was in Bangkok. My family used to eat at this little Italian restaurant and, although I hardly remember any details about the restaurant itself, I remember the happy times with family and friends and I remember the amazing gnocchi. The important stuff.
Comfort food can be a variety of different things to different people. Food often becomes comforting when it’s associated with a fond memory. Found this out from reading Brian Wansink’s book, Mindless Eating. There’s a pretty interesting section in there about comfort food. Anyway, gnocchi is a comfort food for me because I associate it with the first time I ate it in that little restaurant in Bangkok. So, every time I make it, even though I’m sure my summer vegetable gnocchi is quite different than the original dish I enjoyed so much in Bangkok, I’m reminded of happy memories from my childhood. Not to mention, gnocchi is just delicious in it’s own right and combined with fresh summer vegetables, a bit of pesto and some parmesan cheese, this version is to die for.
This summer vegetable gnocchi is a perfect way to enjoy the best of summer’s produce before fall sets in. I hope it’s as comforting and tasty for you as it was for me.
Summer vegetable gnocchi
1 lb. of gnocchi
1/4 cup of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 lb. of halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1 zucchini, grated
3 tbsp of prepared pesto
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sautee for 1 minute, so the garlic starts to cook but doesn’t burn.
3. Toss in the halved tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes.
4. Add the gnocchi to the pot of boiling water. Cook according to package directions (usually only 2-3 minutes), drain and set aside.
5. Wrap the zucchini in a clean dish towel and squeeze out the water. 2-3 squeezes should do it. Add the grated zucchini to the tomatoes and cook for 1 more minute. Next, add the pesto and stir for 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
6. Toss the tomato, zucchini mixture with the gnocchi and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Serve in individual bowls with extra parmesan cheese on top.