What I'm about to say may shock many Mahoning Valley readers.
When I was a kid, I didn't like pasta.
Sure, I'd eat it if Mom or Dad made it for dinner. Spaghetti and lasagna were OK, but definitely not my favorites.
Tribune Chronicle / Jim Wyko
Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans — or in this case, spinach and white beans — is an easy and tasty one-skillet supper.
If we had macaroni and cheese, I'd try to fill up on something else. I'd eat mostaccioli at graduation open houses and weddings, but I'd take as little as I could get away with and fill my plate with fried chicken and potato wedges instead.
In fact, whenever possible, I'd avoid the pasta option entirely.
Many thanks to my mom for usually providing me with an alternative if she was making something I really just couldn't stomach. (Macaroni and cheese. I had a hard time forcing myself to eat macaroni and cheese.)
Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
6 cups chopped chard leaves, (about 1 small bunch) or spinach
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add chard (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.
I really, really didn't like pasta. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I was relieved that I now had a legitimate excuse for passing on pasta.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I loved gluten-free pasta. Macaroni and cheese, once my dread of the dinner table, was now my absolute favorite. Spaghetti makes a regular appearance on the Wyko menu.
But then I discovered a pasta that was previously unknown to me - it wasn't something that had appeared at supper when I was growing up - gnocchi. Thank you, Howland Giant Eagle, for introducing me to gluten-free frozen gnocchi.
After some Internet browsing, I used my first bag of gnocchi to make a creamy chicken and gnocchi soup. My husband raved about it, with the disclaimer that it was possible the heavy soup would put him into a coma.
It was another recipe, however, that found its way into regular rotation: gnocchi with tomatoes, beans and greens.
This recipe originally appeared in Eating Well magazine. I make a few tweaks besides the gluten-free gnocchi when I'm cooking this at home.
I swap the chard for spinach - it's easier to grab that bag of pre-washed baby spinach than to wrestle a big leafy bunch of chard into one of those produce bags at the grocery store. Plus, you're spared the cleaning and chopping.
I've also found that the recipe works just as well without the 1/2 cup water, which makes the dish a little runny.
For those who might use frozen gluten-free gnocchi, thaw the pasta in the microwave a little bit before browning. I try to hit that sweet spot where the pasta is no longer frozen, but before it's started to cook.
This is an easy, one-skillet meal to put together, so when I?come home from work, I?can have dinner on the table in about half an hour and not have a ton of cleanup to worry about.