Inspiration is a wonderful thing. I have had a number of things inspire me this week and one was to create something with a cilantro pesto that I had made up a couple of weeks ago for another recipe. Don’t worry, I didn’t use that same batch…I made up a new one…smiles. I wanted to use it with gnocchi, which is one of my favorite comfort foods. When I was in Italy I had it whenever I could and I still do whenever I can. Bella Donna in Italian is “beautiful woman.” That is always a fabulous inspiration. This is a simple but very flavorful dish that fuses together wonderful tastes, textures, and color. It is a little like Christmas in June. I think you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Gnocchi Bella Donna with Cilantro Pesto
16 oz. pkg. of gnocchi (from Italy is best)
2 bunches fresh cilantro
2 fresh garlic cloves
1/3 cup pine nuts or pepitas
extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. julienned sun dried tomatoes in oil (drained)
6.5 oz. jar marinated artichokes (drained)
4 fresh basil leaves (rolled and chopped)
1 tsp. red chile pepper flakes
ground salt and pepper to taste
Boil 5 qts of water in large pot. Remove gnocchi from package and add to boiling water. Boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally or until gnocchi float to the top. Drain in colander. Cut stems from cilantro and add two cup of cilantro leaves to food processor. Cut garlic cloves in half and add along with pine nuts or pepitas and a little olive oil. Pulse mix and add a little oil to get desired texture for pesto. Put finished pesto in a small pan over medium heat and add artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes and red chile pepper flakes. Cook until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste, though you might not need much. Add fresh basil leaves and mix throughout pesto mixture. Put gnocchi in a small serving bowl and and pesto mixture and toss gently till gnocchi is completely coated and serve. Makes 2 servings.