Finally! Finally I have time to cook a nice meal for myself! To be honest, I had to make myself do it. Why? Because as far as I am concerned it is Spring. And every year, I love to welcome my absolutely favorite cooking season with a delicious dinner. It’s usually Italian and ALWAYS includes fresh English peas and asparagus. I know technically asparagus and peas aren’t growing in Washington quite yet, but I just spent the week in San Francisco and decided that as a transplant I’m allowed to import the good stuff from California. You know, for special occasions. Around my house we’re still perfecting the gnocchi, so I decided to make a Springy lemon gnocchi with a lemony cream sauce. Can you say happy? And did I mention we had friends coming over? FRIENDS! New Seattle friends!
First step – boil the potatoes until they’re nice and smooshy.
After they boiled, I drained the water out and placed them back in the pot. Then I continued to cook them over medium high heat to get as much of the water left in them to evaporate. That step keeps you from having to add too much flour into the dough later. Once they were dried out a bit (and getting dangerously close to burning), I pushed them through a ricer. Don’t they just look adorable as spaghetti?
I sprinkled on some flour and started kneading until all of the potato was coated. Then I added some egg yolks, lemon zest, salt and olive oil. I kneaded everything together, adding more flour until the dough was smooth and not too sticky. You can never get all the stick out, but I prefer to just roll the finished gnocchi in flour than add too much into the dough.
I rolled long tubes of dough and then sliced them into little pillows. I popped the little guys into the fridge to chill while I worked on the sauce.
And by sauce, I mean cream sauce. A yummy cream reduced with peas, asparagus, garlic and chili flakes. Once it was a nice thickness I stirred in lemon juice, zest and parmesan.
In the meantime we boiled up the gnocchi (which thankfully only needs to cook for 1-2 minutes).
I tossed the gnocchi into the lemon cream sauce and sprinkled on some bacon. Of course there was bacon! Pancetta would have been nice as well, but I just ordered 3 lbs of bacon form Zoe’s and was itching to put it to good use.
The whole dish was super yummy. Not too rich, not too lemony, just right and totally Springy.
Lemon Gnocchi with Asparagus and Peas
1 lb 4oz baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
4 large egg yolks
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
– In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then return them to the pan. Shake over moderately high heat until dry.
– Working over a large rimmed baking sheet, rice the hot potatoes in an even layer. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon zest, olive oil and the salt and pour over the potatoes. Sprinkle the flour over the potatoes and stir gently just until a dough forms.
– Gently roll the dough into four 1/2-inch-thick ropes. Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss in flour if sticky. Transfer the gnocchi to a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Lemon Cream Sauce:
5 slices bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cup fresh english peas
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp dried hot red-pepper flakes
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb asparagus, sliced diagonally
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
– In a skillet , cook bacon over low heat until fat renders out. Drain out the fat and reserve 1 TBSP for sauce.
– Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add asparagus, peas, red-pepper flakes, garlic, reserved bacon fat and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer, until peas are tender and sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
– Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest, juice and parmesan.
– Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a pot of boiling salted water until the gnocchi floats. Drain gnocchi.
– Add gnocchi to the sauce and stir to coat.
– Plate and sprinkle with bacon.