Friday, June 22, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Gnocchi with Prosciutto, Pesto, and French Green Beans


I have to admit that I am one of the world's laziest cooks.  Sometimes I feel motivated enough to cook everything from scratch, but most of the time all I care about is getting a good meal together with as little time and effort involved as possible.  This recipe is based on one I found on a blog called Pink Basil, and it drew me in because the title of the post is "Super Simple: Gnocchi with Pesto and String Beans".  It is indeed a simple recipe, but does call for making your own pesto.  Pesto is not hard to make -- I have done it before.  I have even made my own fresh gnocchi.  But this time I decided to make a super simple recipe even easier by using refrigerated pre-made pesto.  I even used packaged microwaveable French green beans, for heaven's sake!  (If you use the microwaveable beans, just stir the cooked beans into the fried prosciutto, then add them to the gnocchi.)  So feel free to make this easy version, or if you are feeling ambitious, make some of the ingredients from scratch, although I would advise against this for the prosciutto and beans, as it takes a while to raise both!

Gnocchi with Prosciutto, Pesto, and French Green Beans

1 pkg. (4 oz.) diced prosciutto
1 pkg. (16 oz.) potato gnocchi
16 oz. green beans, cut into thirds (about 3-4 C.)
1 container (7 oz.) refrigerated reduced-fat pesto (I used Buitoni)

Fry the prosciutto until crisp on the outside. Set the pan aside and cool.  Cook the gnocchi according to package directions, adding the green beans during the last two minutes of cooking (when the gnocchi just begin to float to the top).  Reserve 1/2 C. of the cooking liquid, then drain the gnocchi and beans and return to the pot.  Stir in the prosciutto, then the pesto, and toss to coat, adding a little cooking liquid if the mixture is too thick.  Serves 4 as a side dish (2-3 if served as the main course).

Note: If you cannot find diced prosciutto and must use the paper-thin slices instead, put the slices in the freezer first.  Quickly dice the frozen slices using a straight, downward motion of the knife before they have a chance to thaw.  This is much easier than trying to cut up unfrozen prosciutto slices, which usually end up sticking to the knife and making life difficult.
         

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