Gnocchi, Spinach & Pine Nuts: Budget Meal # 2 September 26, 2009

Filed under: Budget Meals — sotsil @ 11:34 am
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Jackie Mills (MS, RD) contributed this recipe to  It was originally published in the January 2009 issue of Cooking Light.  And light it is, despite the butter.

I call it my budget meal # 2 because I spent only $7.00 and it’s good for two people!  Get the recipe from the link above (it’s still there because I just checked).  The recipe is called Brown Butter Gnocchi with Spinach and Pine Nuts. 

I had never tasted gnocchi before and I love pine nuts so the time was ripe for me to try this recipe.  What I like about it is that it calls for fresh spinach which doesn’t need to be cooked (you just throw it in) and there are only 8 ingredients – which already includes your salt, pepper, garlic and butter.  The only expensive item in this recipe are the pine nuts.  I keep a supply of it because I like adding them to aglio e oglio (poor man’s spaghetti as my sister calls it).  I buy them in a small plastic container from one of my favorite supermarkets – Mourelatos – and they cost about $6.00.  This quantity is good for five cooking sessions of aglio e oglio or five cooking sessions for this gnocchi recipe.

For a step-by-step instruction on how to make this dish, watch the video here:  If this link doesn’t work, go to the first URL above and then scroll down to the section where it says “See this recipe in…”  It’s below the image.  You’ll see the video recorder icon.  In the video, Polly says to add your cooked gnocchi to the mixture so you’ll have to cook the gnocchi before you saute the garlic, pine nuts and spinach in the butter .  Boil water and then put your gnocchi.  Drain them only after they rise to the surface of the water – this takes about 5 minutes, maybe even less.  When you buy your gnocchi, instructions will be on the package.  If you overcook them, they’ll crack!

Here’s the breakdown for this budget meal.  I won’t include the salt, pepper, garlic and butter because these are foods you already have:


Jackie Mills suggests adding bacon bits on top and pairing it with a Sauvignon blanc!

Trivia:  gnocchi means lumps; singular form is gnocco.  It was very popular in northern Italy but Brazilians also love it.  Gnocchi can be made by hand, but you need a truckload of patience, a potato ricer and a gnocchi mold.  I believe the pressure-packed supermarket variety is just as good!

If you look again at the photo above, there’s a cream-coloured handmade doily – that’s from my good friend Gina (a creative woman who comes up with wonderful creations using her hands – and she has fed me many times in the past with her Italian cooking!)


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