Fresh Tomato & Zucchini Gnocchi Skillet

6 years ago this August I was in Italy with my best friend.

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Thought we went to different universities, both of our schools were connected to the same study abroad program. It worked out that we were able to spend the summer together studying Spanish in the beautiful town of Segovia, just outside of Madrid. We both loved Spain and our experiences, but the summer was made even more special because we had the experience together.

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After our study abroad program wrapped up we allowed ourselves a couple of extra weeks to travel in Europe together, choosing Italy as our primary destination. Growing up with an Italian family, it wasn’t hard to love the food, culture and people of Italy as we made our way through Venice, Florence, Rome and Milan.

The first night we arrived in Rome we checked in to our hostel near Vatican City and headed out for dinner. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant or exactly where it was but it was a little cafe with lots of open windows and I ordered the most perfectly simple pasta with fresh zucchini and tomatoes. The noodles were fresh and tender, the vegetables were perfectly in season, and as the Italians tend to do they made something so simple incredibly special.

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When we returned home (sadly) at the end of our trip I set out to make a similar pasta dish and have made multiple variations since. The thing about this dish is that fresh vegetables are key. Being a total tomato snob, I tend to only make this dish at the peak of summer when I can get the best local tomatoes and zucchini.

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This dish is also simple and quick, perfect for summer nights. Yet, somehow these simple ingredients come together so nicely this dish would be sure to impress your friends and family too.

I think this pasta is great just as it is but it tastes delicious with some grilled chicken or fish to make it a bit more hardy. This might just be your next family favorite.

 

Fresh tomato and zucchini gnocchi skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini, skin removed and cut into thin strips
  • 1 large fresh tomato, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb. fresh or frozen gnocchi
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 T
  • 1/4 cup "cherry size" fresh mozzarella (Ciliegine)
  • 2 T fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Set a large pot of water to boil for the gnocchi. While the water is heating, prepare the zucchini and tomatoes.
  2. In a large skillet add 1 T olive oil and the diced onion. Cook until slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 30 second until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and zucchini, stirringly regularly.
  3. Cook until the tomatoes have broken down and the zucchini is slightly translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. When the water is boiling cook gnocchi according to package directions. This should only take about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  5. When the skillet mixture has finished cooking, stir in the gnocchi, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes if using.
  6. Gently fold in the mozzarella and fresh basil.
  7. Serve immediately.
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