Weeknight Shorts: No Boil Gnocchi

At this point in the winter season, I'm looking for ways to add a bit of freshness to my meals, but I'm not quite ready for a big 'ol salad yet. So it's time to blend comfort food, freshness, and a bit of a twist … because let's face it, we're all going a bit stir crazy waiting for spring. So I turn to packaged gnocchi and give it a little time in my frying pan instead of boiling water. The result:

Instead of the traditional pillowy dumplings, the exterior of the gnocchi ends up being crisp and seasoned while the inside is tender and a little chewy. Honestly, I could fry gnocchi like this and just eat it as a snack! However, spending just a bit longer to cook some chicken and toss it and the gnocchi with some of those fresh veggies I was talking about earlier and some tangy olives means a fun meal that has it all. In fact, apart from a glass of wine or even some lemonade (let's at least give a wink to spring!) is all you need to round out this meal.

When frying gnocchi, remember to keep the pan relatively hot and move the gnocchi frequently to avoid burning them. They are brimming with starch and can even start a fire if left unattended, so treat it more like a stir-fry and keep them moving in your pan. You might wish to pop one in your mouth to make sure you've got the texture you desire. Just be sure to let it cool a little before doing so because they can burn a tender mouth straight from the pan.

Now, I bet regular readers know what I'm going to say next. Of course you can tweak this recipe. You can go for different seasonings, different vegetables, and even different sources of protein — or skip them altogether! You can even sprinkle a bit of shredded cheese over the top of it all and give it a few minutes in the oven before serving. This recipe is really about skipping the boiling the next time you're thinking about gnocchi and grabbing your frying pan. For me and my family, it's a welcome change of pace.

Greek Style Fried Gnocchi

  • 2-3 T. olive oil
  • 1 package gnocchi (500g)
  • 2 tsp. Greek seasoning, lemon-pepper seasoning, or similar seasoning blend, divided
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 oz. halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 c. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 c. halved, pitted kalamata olives

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the gnocchi and season generously with one teaspoon of your chosen seasoning blend. Cook, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes, until gnocchi is golden brown and slightly crispy. You may need to add additional olive oil if the pan gets too dry. Remove the gnocchi from the pan and set aside.

If needed, add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the chicken, season with the remaining one teaspoon of your chosen seasoning blend, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until cooked through.

Return the gnocchi to the pan along with the tomatoes, spinach, and olives. Stir 1-2 minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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