Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gnocchi with Summer Squash and Fresh Tomato

True to my Italian roots (well, half of my roots anyway) one of the first recipes that I developed for myself as I became more interested in cooking was homemade marinara. I've been using that basic recipe for a few years now and am proud that I can’t remember the last time I bought a jar of sauce. That recipe (used here as part of a lasagna I made a little while back) holds true to the common image of a pot of sauce bubbling on the back burner for hours as the tomato, onion, garlic, basil and whatever else was in grandma’s secret recipe melds together into a thick, dark red sauce that covers the entire house with an aroma which upon smelling you immediately have to grab the nearest chunk of bread and dunk it in the pot.

Summer, however brings with it a wonderful bounty of fresh tomatoes and the opportunity to create a very different type of tomato sauce. With minimal effort, a ripe tomato fresh off the vine can be reduced down to a light yet flavorful sauce with wholly different characteristics from marinara. For this dish I started with a basic fresh tomato sauce as a base and then added the squash for another layer of flavor. I used the little round squashes from the week 9 share, but regular zucchini or yellow squash will work just as well. Gnocchi is a nice alternative to pasta with plenty of very good packaged varieties available, it can be a great way to change things up on a pasta night.

Share Contents Used
Summer Squash

3/4 lb summer squash, chopped into a half inch dice
1 lb fresh tomato
1/4 cup shallot, chopped fine
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbs parsley, minced
1 lb package of gnocchi
2 tbs grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Take the tomato(s) and cut a shallow cross through the skin on the bottom, then place in the boiling water for 1 minute.  Remove from the water and immediately place in a bowl of ice water to cool. Return the water to a boil and cook the gnocchi per package directions. While the gnocchi is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan then add the shallot and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.  Remove the tomato from the cold water, peel off and discard the skin then remove the core and coarsely chop.  Add the chopped tomato to the pan along with the crushed red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the tomato has started to break down and form a sauce, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and butter and stir until the butter is melted. Cover the pan and cook over low heat until the squash is soft, 3-5 minutes.  Uncover and stir in the parsley and Parmesan then season with salt and pepper.  Add the cooked gnocchi and stir to coat.  Serve immediately with more Parmesan on the side.

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