Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas

Servings: 4

This is a great, flavorful dish that is so easy to make it's unbelievable! And it only takes about 20 minutes!

To give credit where credit is due, I got this from Gourmet's website but wanted to share it with you because even though I am not a fan of peas, they fit very well into this dish. The sweetness of the peas counteracts the tartness of the lemon and the saltiness of the sauce.

1 cup frozen baby peas (not thawed)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes, adjust for your level of heat.
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 cups packed baby spinach (3 oz)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1 /2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 lb dried gnocchi (preferably De Cecco)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

In a large pot, add gnocchi to boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) and cook until al dente (5-8 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain gnocchi.

In a 12-in heavy skillet, simmer peas with cream, red-pepper flakes, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until tender, about 5 minutes. 1/4 tsp of dried red pepper flakes gives a pretty decent amount of heat to this dish (not spicy, but just enough to leave your tongue tingling) so I would reduce it if you are not a fan of spicier foods.

Add spinach to the pea mixture and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice. The cream and lemon juice will react and form a thick sauce.

Add gnocchi and the cheese to the pan with the sauce, if needed add some of the reserved cooking water and stir to coat. Thin sauce with additional cooking water if necessary.

As a quick note, if you are making this for yourself or planning on having leftovers, I would add 1-2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid to the container with the leftovers. This dish reheats in a pan over medium heat (10 minutes) and the extra liquid keeps it from drying out while it is being reheated.

I haven't tried it yet (so don't hold me to it..unless it does actually taste good) but I could picture this dish tasting great with some cooked and sliced sweet Italian sausage thrown into the mix...next time!

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