Summer Veggie and Bacon Gnocchi with Pesto

It’s been a little while since I posted a recipe, so I wanted to share this delicious, super easy creation that Jeff and I came up with for dinner on Sunday. If you’re someone who enjoys cooking when you’re following a recipe but feel like you’re at a loss without one, I think pasta dishes are a great place to start—all you need is the pasta (or gnocchi, in this case), a few ingredients to toss in and a sauce. And before you know it, you have a light, fresh and delicious meal!

For this recipe, instead of using a sauté pan, I opted to use a small Dutch oven-type pan, which has higher sides. I knew that I wanted to toss all of my ingredients together in the pan at the end, so I wanted one where I would be able to do that easily. The first ingredient to go in was 2 pieces of bacon, which I cooked until almost crispy, about 6 or 7 minutes. Bacon tends to continue cooking a little in its own fat after you take it out of the pan, so I always under-cook it a little.

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While the bacon cooked, we got some water boiling to cook the gnocchi. Did you know that Trader Joe’s sells gnocchi?! It’s right there in the pasta aisle, and even easier to make. This is what it looks like.

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Next, I chopped up some fresh asparagus and yellow zucchini into bite-size pieces. I had never seen yellow zucchini before—this wasn’t summer squash, it actually looked exactly like a zucchini, just yellow. They had it in the local produce section at our Trader Joe’s, and I thought this would be the perfect way to give it a try. So once the bacon was cooked and removed to a paper towel-lined plate, the asparagus and zucchini went in. These were cooked until just soft, only about 3 minutes.

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Once these were cooked, I turned the heat down to medium-low so they wouldn’t get too soft and added frozen peas and corn, probably around a quarter cup of each. We always have peas and corn in the freezer, and they are a great way to add freshness and texture to any dish. Plus they’re very small, so they only take about a minute or so to heat through.

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By this time, the gnocchi was cooked and strained, so that went into the pot along with the bacon, which we also chopped into bite-size pieces.

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Once everything was in the same pan, all that was left was to add a sauce. We opted for pesto, because I think the brightness goes beautifully with fresh veggies, but the possibilities are really endless—a marinara sauce, a creamy tomato sauce, an Alfredo sauce, or even just some olive oil and Parmesan cheese would be delicious.

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Then it was time to plate and eat! The gnocchi was so soft and pillowy, and because its texture isn’t quite as smooth as pasta, it held onto the pesto really well. The asparagus was earthy, the bacon salty and meaty, and the yellow zucchini, peas and corn were sweet.

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For some added indulgence, we even sprinkled on a little Parmesan cheese. This ended up making enough for the two of us for dinner and then for lunch for me the next day. And it came together in probably 20 minutes! This fun, fresh dish has definitely earned a spot in our rotation.

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Yum!

 

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