At the top of my list of things to use were some asparagus and grape tomatoes. Two things that are perfect for quiche or pasta, but a friend had been asking me about making gnocchi, which had me wanting gnocchi....so that's the route this meal took.
I defrosted some of the Basil Pesto I have in the freezer to use as a sauce, and used the last few pinenuts as a garnish, together with shaved Parmesan. All very tasty, and my husband had leftovers for lunch today.
The chicken is optional, and I added it because we wanted the meat.
Start off by making (or buying) potato gnocchi, and cooking them in lightly salted water, at a slow boil. When the gnocchi rise to the top, scoop them out and place them onto an oiled baking sheet to cool. Set aside until needed.
Turn the oven on to 400F.
In a hot pan, using some olive oil, sear the chicken. You will need:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
When the chicken is seared on both sides, add:
a handful of grape tomatoes
Toss to coat the tomatoes with oil, season them with salt and pepper and place the pan into the oven to finish cooking the chicken, and to roast the tomatoes.
While the chicken and tomatoes are cooking, heat a bit of olive oil in a large wok or pan, and add:
1 shallot, minced
salt and pepper
Cook for a couple of minutes.
12 - 16 asparagus spears, cut into 2" pieces
Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.
Add the cooled gnocchi to the pan and continue to cook, stirring gently and often to prevent sticking.
The gnocchi will start to crisp slightly; that is what you are looking for.
When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
Add the roasted grape tomatoes and pan juices to the gnocchi.
Add Basil Pesto to taste. Mix gently to coat all the gnocchi.
1/4 cup of Basil Pesto
Taste and adjust seasoning.
To serve, place the gnocchi in the dishes, and top with the thinly sliced chicken breast. Garnish with toasted pinenuts and shaved Parmesan. I also passed extra Basil Pesto at the table, in case someone wanted more!
- Pasta can be substituted for gnocchi.
- The tomatoes do not have to be roasted; I like the extra flavour it creates. You can leave them whole, or halve them, and add them with the aparagus. Peeled, seeded and chopped large tomatoes can also be used if you like.
- The asparagus does not have to be blanched, as it has plenty of time to cook while the gnocchi heat up.
- Other vegetables that could be used are broccoli, broccolini, sweet red peppers, sundried tomatoes, olives, mushrooms or zucchini.
- I have an abundance of Basil Pesto in my freezer, as I had a bumper crop of basil this year. If you do not have any, use Basic Tomato Sauce instead.
- The chicken can be roasted, as I did, or it can be cubed and cooked in the pan with the shallots, adding the asparagus when the chicken is almost fully cooked.