A Garden Gnocchi Recipe
Summer pastas don't have to be cold to be light and bright.
When winter becomes spring, pasta gets a demotion from main dish to cold salad, but Victor Scargle, executive chef of Lucy's Restaurant & Bar in Yountville, California, sees no reason to switch.
"When we go into the garden to see what's growing, we are always thinking about other items that will balance the vegetables without overpowering them," says Scargle, who's also responsible for planting and picking in the restaurant's expansive garden. "The potato gnocchi we pair with fava beans, peas, charred leeks and basil pesto creates a nice texture that balances out the crunch of the favas and pop of the peas."
Though gnocchi can be a dense, heavy pasta, Scargle makes his light and fluffy, then crisps them in the pan before serving them with the other vegetables. "The charred leeks give that smoky barbecue flavor while the brightness of the peas and favas melds together with the fresh basil pesto."
Potato Gnocchi with Fava Beans, Peas, Charred Leeks and Basil Pesto
By Executive Chef Victor Scargle, Lucy's Restaurant & Bar, Yountville, California
- 5 each russet potatoes, medium-size
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Reggiano cheese, finely grated
- 3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup fava beans, blanched, shocked and peeled
- 1 cup English peas, blanched slightly and shocked
- 2 bunches baby leeks, blanched and charred on the grill
- 4 bunches basil leaves, blanched, shocked and dried well
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chive blossoms
- ¼ teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
- Bake potatoes in oven at 400 degrees till tender (about 45 minutes). They should be tender but not soft—do not overcook—then cool till warm.
- Peel potatoes when cool enough to handle and pass thru ricer (using fine mesh), Let cool entirely in refrigerator.
- When completely cooled mix in 3 cups flour with potatoes. Beat eggs, salt and cheese together then mix with potatoes. Kneed till tacky but not moist.
- Cut dough into 6 pieces and cover with towel. Roll (with hand) one piece of dough into a 1/3 inch-long rope. Cut into ½ inch pieces and run down back of fork to get groves. Place in lightly floured pan and place in cooler with lid.
- For the pesto, place oil in blender to cover the blade, add the basil, garlic and pine nuts and blend until warm. Then quickly put in metal container, place in ice water and stir until cold to keep the color bright green.
- For plating, place a little grapeseed oil in a pan and heat until medium high. Add gnocchi and sauté until golden brown then add fava beans, peas and leeks. Add pesto and warm slightly. Remove from pan and place in small bowl. Garnish with chive blossoms, shaved Reggiano and serve.