Spring Vegetable Gnocchi

by heidi on April 16, 2013

Before I talk about today’s recipe, I want to send my heartfelt thoughts to those that were affected by the bombing yesterday at the Boston Marathon finish line. Thankfully my friend, and many of yours, Dara of Cookin’ Canuck and her family—in Boston to cheer on her husband Steve who crossed the finish line just 3 minutes before the bombing—have let us all know via Twitter that they are fine even with the blast happening just one block and three minutes away from them.

Timing. It’s a tenuous thing.

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi | foodiecrush.com

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families and participants, volunteers and emergency care workers who were affected, especially those that could not walk away. Special prayers to the family of the 8 year old who was killed in this manic event. That hits way too close to home. I cannot imagine.

Why did this happen? Why do any of these deranged plots happen? What are people thinking? I just can’t wrap my head around why anyone, ANYONE, thinks this is a good way to prove a point, gain notoriety or to simply create chaos through terror.

The only way I know how to address this is to love my loves and look for beauty and unselfishness in this unstable world. I hope you can too.

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi | foodiecrush.com

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi | foodiecrush.com

I’m very much a creature of habit. Or more likely a creature of cravings. When it comes to going out to eat I can rarely motivate myself to deviate from my standard favorites, especially when it comes to any sort of ethnic food. Mexican food: I always gravitate to the Chile Rellenos. Sushi: I must have Spicy Tuna anything.

When it comes to Italian, its rarely a question of what to order once the waiter rolls around: Gnocchi please. The sad thing is, at most Italian eateries gnocchi isn’t always standard fare. That’s why Sea Salt in Salt Lake City is one of my favorite spots to eat, since they have at least 5 different gnocchi recipes on the menu.

Gnocchi ala Norma

While Gnocchi alla Norma is my favorite and will make the blog sometime in the future, I’m working on spreading my wings and rallying through the rest of the menu at Sea Salt. Yep, I’m going wild around here. At least in the gnocchi department.

How it has taken me this long to get these potato pillows on the blog is beyond me.

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi | foodiecrush.com

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi | foodiecrush.com

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi | foodiecrush.com

This gnocchi isn’t your typical gnocchi. It’s big, fluffy and cheesy. I thought of calling it a gnudi but since it does indeed showcase classic baked potato put through a ricer rather than being made mostly of ricotta cheese, it’s still a gnocchi in my book. 

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi | foodiecrush.com

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi | foodiecrush.com

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi | foodiecrush.com

Some recipe tips:

1. Bake your potatoes and bake them good. The first time I made this I was a little impatient and didn’t bake my potatoes long enough. Pushing hardened little nuggets of rock hard potatoes through a ricer or a food mill takes the strength of a bodybuilder, but it doesn’t have to. Mine did, and I ended up throwing them all away and starting over. Make sure yours are nice and fluffy to create a light as a pillow potato bite.

2. Ricers are nicer. Another time I made this I had the bright idea to give the food processor a try, to let the machine be the muscle. Don’t do it. Instead pump your biceps and rice away, to create a light and fluffy potato shred instead of a hashbrown.

3. Creamy is dreamy but light is just right. I’ve lightened up this creamy version by using half and half cooked down and reduced to thicken rather than the full cream version I use in my Meyer Lemon Fettuccine—you know, with swimsuit weather approaching and all. If you’re finding this sauce to be a little limp for your taste, add a pat or two of butter, or make with full cream, or you could always add more parmesan cheese to thicken the sauce to your preference.

4. Veg out. This should go without saying, but do experiment with what’s in your larder when it comes to adding and switching up the veggies. There are too many wonderful combinations out there to discover.

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi

Yield: serves 4

Spring Vegetable Gnocchi


For the Gnocchi
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (2 large Idaho russets)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
2 egg yolks, beaten
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
For the Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, white parts only, thinly sliced
6 ounces baby brown mushrooms, quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups half and half
1 pound skinny asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths
3/4 cup petite green peas
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup basil thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub the potatoes and poke all over with a fork then place on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise until cool enough to handle.
  2. Scoop out the potato flesh with a spoon and press the flesh through a ricer. Measure 3 cups of potatoes into a pile onto a work surface. Sprinkle the potatoes with kosher salt, nutmeg and drizzle the egg yolks. Dust with 1/2 cup flour. Using a bench scraper, gently fold the flour into the potatoes and egg yolks.
  3. Dust the dough with the remaining 1/4 cup flour and the parmesan cheese. Lift, fold and press with the scraper until most of the flour and cheese is mixed in. Press the dough into a ball. Scrape the work surface clean with the bench scraper and then dust with more four.
  4. Fold and knead the dough with your hands on the work surface for two turns.
  5. Layer a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Quarter the dough and then roll 1/4 of the of the dough into a 3/4 inch wide rope. Cut into 1-inch pieces with the bench scraper and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
  6. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add leeks and mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute then add half and half and cook for 5 minutes or until sauce has reduced by half. Turn heat to low and mix in parmesan cheese, peas, lemon zest and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for an additional minute or until cheese is melted and peas are heated through.
  7. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Salt the water for flavor. Cook the gnocchi in the gently boiling water just until they float to the surface, about 1 1/2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the skillet with the sauce. Add the asparagus to the hot water, cook for 3 minutes then transfer to gnocchi with slotted spoon, add the basil and gently fold to coat. Season to taste with more salt and pepper and garnish with additional parmesan cheese and basil if desired.

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Posted in: entrees,noodles, rice and grains,recipes,vegetables and fruits

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn April 16, 2013 at 2:52 am

I echo everything that you’ve said here Here. It’s just so hard to take in and understand why someone would do anything like this. You’re right though, this kind of event makes you realise just how precious life is. I love the flavours of this and how light and bright this is.


Abby @The Frosted Vegan April 16, 2013 at 4:49 am

Amen to your beautiful words, thanks for shedding light on these events but also sharing a gorgeous recipe


Tracy @ Peanut Butter and Onion April 16, 2013 at 5:55 am

Gnocchi , Gnocchi , Gnocchi … I keep seeing this everywhere, and I have yet to try it. I know , shame on me. Might as well start with this one


Tieghan April 16, 2013 at 6:41 am

You said it beautifully Heidi. My thoughts and prayers are with Boston and the family of the young eight year old girl. It just so sad.

This gnocchi looks amazing!! Oh my gosh, so doughy! Like soft the pillows and I LOVE the spring veggies!


kristy @ the wicked noodle April 16, 2013 at 7:23 am

First…this gnocchi dish looks beyond amazing. Something I need to make very soon!

Second…I had no idea Dara and her husband were there. My heart started pounding just reading about it. I am so thankful they are both okay.

Third…here’s a hug from me to you :)


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar April 16, 2013 at 7:25 am

This sounds super fabulous!!


Denise | TLT April 16, 2013 at 7:30 am

Agree. Such a heartbreaking tragedy…

And this is too funny. Here I am, on the other side of the ocean;), making spring vegetable gnocchi for dinner tonight. Just came home with the ingredients for my version, that’s pretty similar to yours. Pretty much the only difference: mushrooms=blue cheese. Enjoy:)


Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie April 16, 2013 at 7:35 am

Nothing beats homemade gnocchi. I’m not a fan of mushrooms but the rest looks great!


Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough April 16, 2013 at 7:59 am

This is an eloquent and beautiful post, Heidi. It’s hard to know what to do or say in times like these, but you’ve reflected on it just perfectly. And this gnocchi? I need these gnocchi. My heart is going pitter-patter for this gnocchi.


Meagan @ A Zesty Bite April 16, 2013 at 8:17 am

Such a beautiful post Heidi! I’ve never made gnocchi but your pictures make me want to try it out immediately.


Paula - bell'alimento April 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

I love gnocchi. It’s fun to say and fun to eat. xoxo


Faith (An Edible Mosaic) April 16, 2013 at 9:34 am

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, Heidi! I’ve been a fan of your work for a long time.

This post is beautiful and I echo your thoughts on yesterday’s tragic events.

Your gnocchi looks wonderful, and you are so right about using a potato ricer instead of a food processor! Makes all the difference in the world.


Laura (Tutti Dolci) April 16, 2013 at 9:41 am

Beautifully stated! Your gnocchi looks dreamy, I love the spring veggies!


Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom April 16, 2013 at 9:56 am

Heidi, thanks for opening with Boston in this post. . I feel the same way. . especially re: the family who lost their 8 year old child. I am still in disbelief.
Your gnocchi is absolutely beautiful. Love it! I recently made a ricotta gnocchi with vegetables that is amazing. you should try it.


Betty Ann @Mango_Queen April 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Great recipe and nice, warm blog post to comfort all of us in search of questions to yesterday’s tragedy. Thanks for bringing this delish, easy spring vegetable gnocchi. Bookmarking this one to try soon. Sending good wishes to you!


Becky April 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm

you had me at gnocchi!! This dish just sounds perfect to me!! BTW… Annalise and I were just discussing how delicious all of your recipes have been lately. We think you’re pretty awesome :)


Sylvia @ reelflavor.com April 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Thanks for your reflections on yesterday. I lived in Boston for 5 1/2 years before I moved to Chicago, so the news really hit home for me. Thank God my friends are ok, but it’s so heartbreaking to see such a tragedy for the city and those who weren’t as lucky.

You definitely brightened my gloomy mood with your gnocchi. I’m pretty sure I could create a gluten-free version of this!


natalie @ wee eats April 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm

These recipes look absolutely amazing. I love the spring vegetable gnocchi – the pairing of the “light” spring veggies with the hearty gnocchi is perfect.

I’m the total opposite, even if I have a favorite item I try to branch out and try something new every time I go somewhere, which usually works bc my BF is the exact opposite, so he always gets the same thing, which I know I can munch on as well. Sharing is caring, right?


Cheese Company April 17, 2013 at 6:16 am

These types of recipe recognize me of my Grand Mom who was fabulous in cooking. She really like to attain the recipe which seems complicated to prepare, how your recipe seems right now.


Lilly Sue April 17, 2013 at 8:57 am

It was very sad to hear about the Boston Marathon…an event built around families, happiness, and cheering falls to horror and sadness. I don’t understand it either. This recipe looks delicious though. Thanks for sharing.


Annalise April 17, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I don’t think I’ve looked an gnocchi the same since that lunch at Sea Salt. Life changing. Fun seeing you today!


Cookin' Canuck April 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Thank you so much for your sweet thoughts, Heidi. Things definitely have hit hard since we’ve come back home. It was all far too close for comfort, and we are devastated for the people of Boston and the victims.


heidi April 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Soooo glad you are safe and sound Dara!


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