Gnocchi & Tomato Salad
This makes for a lovely summer lunch and is my simplified version of a Marcella Hazan recipe. It’s fantastically easy. Marcella’s original recipe uses fusilli or penne pasta, but I like it gnocchi, as I've done here, or with those shop-bought tortellini filled with spinach and ricotta that never taste of anything much – this perks them up nicely. The original recipe also calls for cherry tomatoes, while I’ve got away with simply chopping up larger ones in the past. Marcella also suggests a marinating period, but the other week I didn’t have time and it still tasted delicious.
This all sounds rather disrespectful to Marcella, I know, and I'm not, I'm a huge fan, it's just that she's a perfectionist and I'm well, human. And usually in a hurry, and having to make do. Ho hum.
For two generous portions, you’ll need:
250g / 9oz Cherry tomatoes (alternatively you could just chop up larger ones)
6 x black Greek-style olives – de-stoned and chopped
Olive oil (Virgin if you’ve got it)
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
½ tsp chopped garlic
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
A pack of gnocchi
Mix all ingredients together apart from the gnocchi, and allow to steep at room temperature for 45 minutes or even longer if possible. This is handy if you’re serving it to guests, but not being the purist Marcella is, I failed to do it last time and can’t say I noticed much difference.
(And here's a shocker: I once added some baby spinach leaves to it, and suspect that rocket would be a terrific addition, too. Just don't tell Marcella.)
Bring a pan of water to the boil, add salt and throw in your gnocchi. Follow the instructions on your packet, but with mine I only had to wait until they rose to the top of the water, a couple of minutes or so. Drain immediately and add to the tomato mix. Combine and serve.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
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