This is a very easy and flavourful dish that is great for serving guests. Because it’s only lightly dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, the vegetables and herbs really stand out and are so, so delicious.
This recipe makes a lot; probably about 5-8 servings. I always make a big batch because I like to have some leftover to eat the next day (or two!). This recipe is also very forgiving and easy to adapt. All of the amounts listed are suggestions; they can vary a lot and it’ll still turn out wonderfully. The veggies listed are my favorites, but you could sub in anything that roasts nicely (sweet potato, eggplant, fennel…).
If you’re vegan or serving vegan guests, read the ingredients on the gnocchi to make sure no milk is sneaking around in there.
- 1kg package gnocchi
- 1.5 cups butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1.5 cups grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
- 1 medium onion (I use vidalia but yellow, white, or red would work)
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1.5 cups crimini mushrooms (small ones if possible)
- 1 large or 2 small red peppers
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper.
- 1 handful fresh parsley (I prefer Italian but curly is fine too)
- 1 handful fresh basil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Chili pepper flakes – optional. (I use about a tablespoon… a teaspoon might be safer unless you love spicy food)
The veggies take longer to prepare and cook than the gnocchi, so I recommend putting a big pot of salted water on the stove when you get started, but waiting until the veggies have been cooking for at least 10 minutes before you get going on the gnocchi.
Preheat the barbeque or oven (see below).
Microwave the squash cubes in an appropriate dish for 6 minutes on high.
Put aside the tomatoes. The goal with the rest of the veggies is to prep them so that they are in pieces about the same size as the gnocchi or a little bigger. Cut the onion into large wedges then separate the layers. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into about ¾ inch pieces so that you have thick half-moons. If the crimini mushrooms are small, leave them whole, if they’re large, cut them in half. Chop the red pepper into gnocchi-sized pieces. Put the veggies (including the partially-cooked squash, and not including the tomatoes) into a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Then either barbeque (my preferred method) or roast them.
Whichever method you choose, add the tomatoes (also lightly coated with olive oil) when the other veggies are almost finished; the goal is to warm them but not cook them so much that they break their skins.
To barbeque, heat the BBQ on medium-high, and place the veggies into a large grill wok. It’s ok if they’re kind of heaped in there; they’ll shrink. Use a large metal spatula to gently stir and turn over the veggie pile every few minutes until they’re soft inside and slightly charred outside, about 20-25 minutes.
To roast, heat the oven to 375. Spread the veggies in single layer onto one or two cookie sheets (you can cover them with tinfoil if you want). Roast for about 20 minutes or until done, with a bit of char.
While the veggies are cooking, get the pot of water boiling, then add the gnocchi. It will cook VERY fast. The pack usually says 3 minutes but honestly, I find it’s more like 1-2 minutes. I always just try one after about 90 seconds to see if they’re done. Avoid overcooking the gnocchi or it’ll turn into mush. Chop the fresh herbs, not too finely.
When the gnocchi is done, drain it and place it into a large bowl. (If you’re still waiting on the veggies, add a bit of olive oil to keep the gnocchi from sticking together.) Add the veggies, herbs, lemon juice, and chili flakes if using, and drizzle with a bit more olive oil if desired. Toss it all gently together and serve.