Spring has sprung! Kind of! We have actually seen the sun a few times. And what better to celebrate the start of spring than this creamy gnocchi primavera (primavera literally means ‘spring’ in Italian). It’s packed with heaps of colourful veggies – leek, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, sweetcorn… and a creamy, cheesy sauce. So yum.
You’ll usually find this dish made with pasta, but I thought I’d use gnocchi for a nice change (and because I had some in the cupboard…). If you’re not familiar with gnocchi, they’re basically potato dumplings. Just like pasta, they don’t have a huge amount of flavour on their own, so you can add whatever sauce you like. I’ve made homemade gnocchi a few times in the past, but to be honest I find the shop-bought version just as good, and it’s a million times less labour-intensive.
I always pan fry my gnocchi rather than boiling it – you end up with light dumplings that are fluffy in the middle and crispy on the outside, as opposed to boiled gnocchi, which I always find a bit heavy and stodgy.
The crispy gnocchi are mixed with all those lovely veggies, and a simple cheesy sauce made from ricotta, creme fraiche, and grated cheese. If you don’t have the exact vegetables I used, don’t worry – you can use whatever fresh veg you like. I like to make sure my primavera is nice and colourful, but I’ve also seen versions that are entirely green – up to you!
Creamy gnocchi primavera
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp oil, divided
- 500 g (~ 2 2/3 cups) potato gnocchi
- 70 g broccoli, cut into small florets (~ 1 cup when chopped)
- 1 small leek, halved lengthwise then sliced
- 125 ml (~ 1/2 cup) vegetable stock
- ~ 8 spears asparagus, cut into 1 inch chunks
- ~ 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 100 g (~ 1/2 cup) tinned sweetcorn
- 1 tbsp (heaped) creme fraiche
- 1 tbsp (heaped) ricotta cheese
- 50 g (~ 1/2 cup) finely grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese
- Black pepper
- Fresh parsley, chopped, to serve
- Melt the butter with 1/2 tbsp oil in a frying pan, and add the gnocchi. Cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly, until crispy and golden brown (around 10 minutes). Remove the gnocchi from the pan, and set aside.
- Heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil in the pan, and add the broccoli and leek. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat until the leek is soft. Add the vegetable stock, and simmer for until most of the excess liquid has evaporated. Add the asparagus, halved tomatoes and garlic, and cook for a few more minutes.
- When the vegetables are fairly soft, return the cooked gnocchi to the pan. Add the sweetcorn, creme fraiche, ricotta and grated cheese, and mix well until the cheese has melted to give a smooth sauce.
- Season generously with black pepper, and serve with fresh parsley.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe.