Recipe for Pesto Gnocchi (with or without grilled salmon)
A Quick Weeknight Dinner
I made this just the other night when my father and mother-in-law were over for dinner. The weather was so nice we grilled some salmon and had it on top of the gnocchi. To grill the salmon I lightly coat it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. I also added a teaspoon of the pesto and spread it on top of the fish. Then on the grill skin side down for 10 minutes and it was perfect. I usually eat pesto with spaghetti or some other pasta and call it a day but decided it would be nice with some salted sliced tomatoes and salmon for a quick, healthy and delicious dinner.
For The Pesto...serves 4 adults and 1 toddler:
2 garlic cloves
2 2/3 ounze packages of basil rinsed and stems removed.
1/8 cup of roasted pine nuts (I buy mine roasted). If you can only find raw pine nuts, take what you need to use and put them in dry pan. Toast them on the stove top for a few minutes. Once you can smell them they are done. do not let them burn. A low heat setting is best as they can burn quickly. Whether you buy roasted or raw, store what you don't use in an air tight container in the freezer, they will last longer)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for the tomatoes if you are using and to season at the end if needed
1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 cup + 1-2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (see picture and note below)
2 pounds of gnocchi or 1 pound of pasta (spaghetti, farfalle etc.. )
Peel and roughly chop the garlic and add to a blender. Pulse for a few seconds. Next, roughly chop the basil and add to the blender with the pine nuts, salt and pepper. Turn the blender on and remove the interior plasic piece from the lid. While the blender is on drizzle in the olive oil a little at a time. Start with just the 1/4 of a cup and allow the blender to process . If the pesto emulsifies /becomes smooth, you are good. But if it seems like it needs a bit more liquid you can add in the other tablespoons one at a time. Once you have a smooth consistency stop the blender and add in the grated cheese. Pulse until it is just combined.
In the meantime you can have a pot of water on to boil. Once it is boiling add salt and whatever pasta you are using. Cook according to the packge directions. Once the pasta is done reserve some of the water (you may need it to loosen up the pesto). Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot. Add in the pesto. If it looks like it is not mixing evenly with the pasta you can add some of the cooking liquid. Only a half ladle-full at a time. You don't want to make soup. If you are having the pesto alone with the pasta you are done. Taste it for seasoning. We always add some grated parmesan cheese on top. If you are having it with the fish you can add some sliced, talked tomatoes on top as a bed to put the fish on. Yummy!