with Bay Arugula and Grape Tomatoes
“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education” –Mark Twain
This elegant member of the cabbage family comes in white, green and also purple (who would have thought?). Cauliflower is a nutritious vegetable as it is a good source of vitamin C and has a fair amount of iron. You can eat it raw or cooked–I prefer to quickly steam it to make it more digestible and keep its delicate flavor, crunchy consistency and bright color. I find that cauliflower is the perfect ingredient to make almost any dish a little lighter and healthier–like in this light gnocchi recipe.
homemade cauliflower gnocchi with baby arugula and grape tomatoes
1 cauliflower head | about 2 cups flour | 1 large egg | 20 grape tomatoes | 4 cloves garlic | 1 bunch baby arugula | 1 sweet onion | balsamic vinegar | olive oil | salt and pepper
Directions for the Gnocchi: Break up a large head of cauliflower into its florets. You can either roast the florets in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, steam it briefly, or even use it raw. For the best flavor and aroma, roast it. Blend it in the food processor. Add salt, pepper, 2 garlic cloves and a little olive oil and blend until smooth (or chunky to your preference). Transfer paste to mixing bowl, add the egg and about two cups of flour. I used quinoa flour for experimenting reasons but you can use whatever flour you have at home. With a spoon, combine until you have a thick paste. Bring a good sized pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. With two teaspoons, form small gnocchi and drop them into the boiling water. To start with, they will sink to the bottom. When they float on the surface, the gnocchi are done–transfer to a kitchen towel lined plate to catch excess water.
Finish the Dish: Cut onion in slices, wash tomatoes and cut in halves, slice 2 garlic cloves. In a large skillet, brown the gnocchi in olive oil and remove once they have a nice golden color. Saute onion, add garlic and tomatoes and saute or lightly brown them. Add gnocchi, season with a splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and remove from heat once the vinegar is reduced to a syrup-like consistency, then add arugula. Toss briefly, sprinkle with balsamic reduction (optional) and serve immediately.
For two servings, use about half of the gnocchi. I browned the whole batch and stored half of the gnocchi in the freezer for later use. You can keep them in the freezer for about a month. Just defrost in the microwave and saute with fresh vegetables, pesto or marinara sauce for a quick and light meal.
Enjoy with a glass of Smithwicks or Chardonnay!