Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms, Asparagus, Basil and Marinara.

This simple delicious dish reminds me of my days in Tuscany. Somehow it is never quite the same but it is cheaper than a plane ticket! As you look at the recipe below or at least the directions you may be overwhelmed or even have a mini panic attack, don’t. It is all about timing. Worst case scenario you will have to reheat something, no big deal. I wrote it out the way I do it because it makes for easy clean up by using less dishes, pots and pans. Also, it is the quickest way to have everything ready right when you need it; no time wasted waiting on something. You will find your own personal rhythym but I just like to take out unecessary or redundant steps. As a teen learning from The Joy of Living Cookbook, I constantly encountered useless directives that drove me mad! I refuse to sift flour or use 5 bowls for one cake, I don’t expect anyone else to either!

Note: This recipe is a single serving you will need to increase the portions for each added person. (4 people? Multiply ingredients by 4.)

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup gnocchi (If you make these at home, you’re a rockstar! I purchase mine from the store. If you are vegan make sure to check ingredients as some brands contain eggs.)
  • 1/4 of a bunch or 1 1/2–2 cups Asparagus
  • 5 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 T. chopped garlic
  • 5 crimini mushrooms (button work as well)
  • 1/2–3/4 cup tomato based marinara (if you want to purchase a prepared brand I recommend Muir Glenn, as it is organic and tends be less added sodium and sugar than other brands. I will post my homemade marinara recipe sometime in the near future)
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)

Now for the action!

  1. Start to boil 2 cups of water.
  2. Rinse, trim ends 1/4" and halve the asparagus for grilling. As soon as the water for the gnocchi begins boiling place the asparagus in a preheated skillet set to medium-high or on the preheated george foreman.
  3. Add gnocchi to the boiling water and boil for four minutes and not a second longer.
  4. Do not cover either the gnocchi or the asparagus.
  5. Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms from top to bottom. Check on the asparagus to make sure it is not charring too much, stir and add a small splash of water to aid in steaming.
  6. By then 4 minutes is usually over and the gnocchi will be floating at the top of the boiling water. Scoop them out and set aside.
  7. Discard used water (no need to wash the pan) and add 1 tsp coconut oil to pan and return to medium-high heat, not high. Allow oil to melt and coat bottom of pan but do not scorch (you will know because there will be smoke).
  8. Add mushrooms and garlic. Allow to sauté and at this time the asparagus should be finished.
  9. Remove asparagus from heat — do not leave on the heat source as it will quickly overcook! You want the asparagus cooked but still crisp and bright green.
  10. Back to the mushrooms and garlic… After initial sautéing (about 3 minutes) add gnocchi back to the pan and sauté until mushrooms are wilty and garlic is caramlized.
  11. Add marinara to pan, stir and heat until sauce is thoroughly heated, maybe 3 minutes.
  12. Place gnocchi and marinara in desired serving dish.
  13. Slice the asparagus into bite size peices but not chopped and place in serving dish on either side of gnocchi.
  14. Put chopped basil on the other side. Top entire dish with a sprinkle of Nutritional Yeast for extra flavor (it ultimately acts like a vegan parmesan but has much more nutritional value). Serve your dish like this and allow your guest to toss or toss it yourself and then serve. Buon Appetito!
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