Soup’s On!: Italian Pesto Soup with Gnocchi

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

2016-01-21 - SO Pesto Soup w Gnocchi - 0002 [flickr]

So I was a little skeptical of this dish; as much as I love me some pesto, I’ve never wanted to put it in a mug and chug it like melted Daiya. (BEST.) But don’t let the sub-par photograph fool you: this dish is ah-may-zing!

The recipe is from Mark Reinfeld’s The 30-Minute Vegan: Soup’s On!, and I must admit up front: I used store-bought gnocchi instead of making them by hand. Way easier, and probably tastier to boot, since my gnocchi-rolling skills are not exactly on point. Otherwise I followed the directions mostly as-is. Well, except for the tomatoes. I used about double the amount called for, but only because I didn’t want to freeze half a can. Leftover ingredients, blerg.

In addition to the obvious – basil, garlic, nutritional yeast, and cashews (or pine nuts) – the soup also has onions, veggie stock, soy sauce, and parsley. Everything but the tomatoes and gnocchi are blended to creamy perfection, a texture that’s complemented nicely by the chunky tomatoes and hearty gnocchi.

Will make again.

Candle Cafe’s Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Tofu Dumplings Potato Gnocchi

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

2014-11-04 - VHC Roasted Red Pepper Soup - 0001 [flickr]

This might be my all-time favorite soup, you guys. AND I FREAKING LOVE SOUP! It’s like Candle Cafe’s roasted red pepper pasta sauce, but drinkable!

So there are four roasted red peppers in this bad girl, along with corn (I didn’t have any peas, so I doubled up), leeks (or scallions, in my case), onions, veggie stock, and basil. The recipe includes instructions for making your own tofu dumplings by hand, but I took a shortcut by using premade potato gnocchi instead. It turned out aces.

I’m not gonna lie; after my last red pepper fiasco, I was a little nervous about roasting my own, even if my method had served me well up until last week. But I seeded and sliced the peppers as usual, divided the slices between two glass baking pans, drizzled them with about a tablespoon of olive oil each, and then roasted at 425F for about 40 minutes. The skins? Peeled right off. Smooth as silk! Or whatever the vegan equivalent is. Satin, maybe?

I reused the roasting oils – now infused with sweet peppery goodness – in the soup. Zero waste! (I even left the skins to the insects outside.)

G is for Gnocchi

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

G is for Gnocchi [Betty Goes Vegan] (0005)

Unlike pierogies, vegan gnocchi is super-easy to find in regular grocery stores, and so I’ve never been tempted to try making it myself. That is, until this whole alphabet thing came into my kitchen. What else to make for the letter G than one of my favorite carb delivery systems?

As it turns out, this experiment? Totally confirmed my suspicions. Gnocchi is a food better bought than made. As per usual, it was the blending of the baked potatoes that proved the most trouble; by the time I was done, blobs of mashed potatoes covered one whole side of my kitchen, and I was ready to retreat to my soft, comfy bed for a nap. According to the directions – I made the Whole Wheat Gnocchi from Betty Goes Vegan – I was to blend the potatoes until “soft and fluffy.” Instead, mine turned into a giant, gooey blob, the likes of which you’re apt to see in the cheesiest of ’70s B movies. (I suspect I left them to cool too long; you’re supposed to blend them while still hot.)

At this point I was rather skeptical that I could ever transform this monster dough into something edible but alas, I powered through and ended up with a batch of gnocchi that may be lacking in the looks department, but is pretty tasty nonetheless.

G is for Gnocchi [Betty Goes Vegan] (0002)

Gnocchi-in-progress.
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They’re not the prettiest things, but hey. It’s only my first time, right? I vacillated between making shell and cornucopia shapes (most of which came to resemble vulvas), and while it took me awhile to work through all the dough, the process went much faster once I got the hang of it. Supposedly the recipe only makes two servings, but we ended up with five hearty bowls full, at least. With sides, this could easily serve six to eight people. I counted the gnocchi as I boiled them – twenty at a time, in a large stock pot – and there were 128 total. Big ones, too!

Annie recommends topping them with basil, but I opted for homemade marinara sauce, owing to the abundance of tomatoes in my garden. I mostly winged it, but the final concoction was rather similar to this Greek-Style sauce.

Stick-to-your-ribs good, though next time around I’ll mostly likely get my gnocchi from a bag.

 
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Gnocchi with Soy-Free Yeasty Pesto

Friday, May 10th, 2013

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This is actually a variation on the Pesto Genovese from Nonna’s Italian Kitchen by Bryanna Clark Grogan. I’ve never met a pesto I didn’t like, but this one’s especially tasty. The original recipe calls for Soymage Parmesan, but here it’s swapped out for nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and – this is where things get strange – vegan chicken broth powder. Which I just so happen to have on hand thanks to my new favorite bulk foods site. (BACOS BY THE POUND!) I love the powdered stuff compared to bouillon – not only is it easy to use, but no palm oil. Yay! But I digress.

Served over a pound of gnocchi with some mixed veggies (not pictured – a last minute addition, they were still in the microwave during the photo session), this was the perfect quick and light meal for the first hot day of the year. fwiw, one recipe makes about enough pesto for one to two bags of gnocchi (or a bag of gnocchi + 2 cups o’ vegetables), depending on how heavy you like it.

Potato Gnocchi with Sundried Tomato-Almond Pesto

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

2013-03-03 - VI Gnocchi with Pesto - 0008

So good I can’t even!

And fast: it took me all of 20 minutes to make, and that’s counting the seven minutes it took to bring the sundried tomatoes to room temp in a mug of hot water. (Pro tip: Remember to take yer tomatoes out of the fridge an hour beforehand, lest they be encased in a block of congealed fat.) It must be a while since I last had gnocchi, because I was surprised – no, straight-up shocked – to find that it only takes 2-3 minutes to cook the suckers. When did this happen, people?

I wish Klein included a recipe for homemade gnocchi in Vegan Italiano, but tragically she does not. Not that it’s difficult to find locally; I just want to take a shot at some fancy flavored stuff. The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook has some pretty tasty looking recipes for Potato Gnocchi and Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Caramelized Shallot Rings, so maybe I’ll give those a try some time soon.