This is an old family favourite and perfect for batch making and freezing when you’ve grown a glut of courgettes (of any colour) or they are extra cheap in the shops. We grow our own so this is a summer staple for us and a cheeky way of getting veg into a toddler without him realising.
I admit it’s not pretty but it tastes delicious and you can make is as healthy or naughty as you want.
Here’s what I do…
Grate (in the food processor, life’s too short) 2-3 courgettes per person and then ping in the microwave or just cook on the hob until soft. Season generously with salt, pepper and dried chilli flakes then whizz up in the blender until smooth.
Return to the hob and reheat. Stick some spaghetti on to cook and grate some cheese (this is the healthy/naughty part) and add it to the sauce, stir until melted through. Use your judgement and taste as you go, you can always add more, but I added a dollop of soft cheese with garlic and herbs, cheddar and Parmesan. Melt through and taste for seasoning and cheesiness. Once the spaghetti is cooked drain and stir the sauce through and serve.
Yes it really is as easy as that. When dealing with a glut we freeze before we add the cheese as it seems to freeze better. It really is delicious, though admittedly it’s slightly prettier with green courgettes.
I’m at times a lazy cook but I draw the line at stabbing at the plastic film of a ready meal. After a busy day, my boys just want a decent meal in their belly and I want to cook it quick so I can open the wine. Gnocchi is really quick to make a meal with and always satisfies.
So tonight I cooked a very adaptable, use what’s hanging around in the fridge, gnocchi dish. I urge you to try it as it’s simple, satisfying and delicious but don’t feel tied to the ingredients, mix it up and feel free to stick whatever you fancy in.
My Knock-Out Gnocchi…
Slice a large onion, red or white your choice and gently sizzle in a drizzle of olive oil. Chop a large red pepper, add to the onions and gently fry until they’re both soft but not coloured. Crush a clove of garlic and add to the pan with some salt and pepper. Throw in a handful of halved cherry tomatoes and some fresh thyme. I added some dried oregano too (because I love it, but add whatever herbs you want, dried or fresh, whatever you like). Cook with the lid on until the tomatoes have relaxed then remove from the pan and set aside.
Fling a very generous glug of olive oil into the pan, get the oil hot and throw in a bag of fresh gnocchi (if you’re using the off the shelf stuff rather than from the fridge section, then I’d give that a quick boil in some water). The aim is to get the gnocchi to develop a bit of a roast potato style crust so keep the pan hot, hot, hot and stir often. Season with salt and pepper and be patient, it will take a little while (but not forever I promise, remember I’m lazy and greedy).
Once your gnocchi has developed a sexy crust, tip your onion and pepper mix back into the pan and mix together. Add about half a jar of pesto and stir. Warm everything through for a minute and plate up. Serve with crusty bread and some salad. A large glass of red wouldn’t go amiss either.
This time I cooked it we had some leftover peas in the fridge, so they went in and we had some rocket growing it’s socks off in the garden, so some of that was stirred through until wilted with a few leftover leaves popped on top for garnish. Don’t be afraid to freestyle with this recipe. It’s very forgiving but the crusty gnocchi are a must!
Clean plates all round and compliments to the chef. Aces.