Great Barrier Reef Gnocchi

Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 60 minutes

Serves:6-8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, baked, peeled, and chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, slivered
  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 packages potato gnocchi

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash into 4 large pieces, clean out seeds and stringy portion, place into a baking dish, add 1 cup water to the bottom of the baking dish, and bake for about 1 hour, until easily pierced with a fork. Cool, remove skin, and chop into chunks. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the raw pine nuts in a dry non-stick frying pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Place the onion and garlic in a pan with a small amount of water, Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. (Or use caramelized onions for this step.) Set aside.

Place the asparagus in a small amount of boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, until just slightly tender. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the gnocchi into the water, stir well, and cook until gnocchi rises to the top, about 3-4 minutes. Drop the spinach into this water, stir several times, then remove gnocchi and spinach with a strainer. Place in a large heated bowl. Add squash, pine nuts, onions and garlic, asparagus and basil. Mix well. Season with a small amount of salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm or cold.

Hint: This may seem like a lot of effort, but the results are worth it! If you start the squash first and then do the remaining steps, the squash should still be warm when you put the finished dish together. Everything can be prepared ahead of time, except for the gnocchi and spinach. Put the water on to boil just before the squash is done, remove the squash, let cool slightly, peel and chop, drop gnocchi into water, mix the squash with the onions, garlic, asparagus and pine nuts in a heated bowl. Then add cooked gnocchi and spinach, toss with the fresh basil and serve.