Summer is rapidly coming to a close along the Front Range. With the first frost date set for October 1st, every morning and evening I scrutinize our tomato plants for signs of summer’s end. Most of our plants have produced prolifically this summer, and while the tomato plants continue to surprise me a seemingly never-ending harvest, there’s no denying their days are most definitely numbered. We may luck out with a slightly later frost this year, but in a matter of weeks, I’ll be pulling the frost-bitten plants from their beds and moving them into our large compost bin to decompose into reusable soil amendment next spring.
I may be typing this while hunkered into an old sweater and sipping a cup of steaming coffee, but outside the tomatoes bushes are still yielding, which means there’s time enough to provide a few more recipes to help you savor your tomato bumper crop before their season’s through.
Below you’ll find a straightforward one-bowl meal that uses roasted tomatoes, corn, and zucchini as a delicious homage to late summer garden gifts. Don’t be alarmed by the idea of making homemade gnocchi. Yes, it’s homemade pasta, but it’s the easiest I’ve made. You need no special equipment, and as long as you maintain a gentle touch when you roll the dough into a tube, you have this gnocchi-making process in the bag.
Pesto-topped Ricotta Gnocchi with
Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, Corn, and Zucchini
– 1 1/3 all-purpose flour
– 2 cups ricotta cheese
– 2 eggs
– 5 TBS grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
1. To prepare gnocchi, dust a large plate with flour and set aside as holding platter for uncooked gnocchi.
2. Place your ricotta cheese on a few paper towels and cover with more paper towels. Press and pat the ricotta into a large circle about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl.
3. Add eggs and Parmesan (or Pecorino Romano) to the ricotta, and stir to combine. Add the flour, and mix in until just combined. Do not over mix or else your gnocchi will be tough.
4. Dust a large cutting board with some flour. Move the dough onto the floured cutting board, and sprinkle a little more flour over it and on your hands. Flatten the dough slightly and cut into quarters. Roll one of the quarters out gently into a 3/4-inch-wide rope, then cut the rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Carefully place the gnocchi on the prepared platter, and repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate while you boil your salted water and prep the “sauce” and toppings.
5. Now, for the rest of the meal. In a large skillet, heat half the oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini, and season with salt. Cook until golden on underside, and then flip and sauté the other side until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir corn into the pan with zucchini, and cook another three minutes until warmed through. Remove the veggies from the skillet, and turn off the heat.
6. Once water is boiling in large pot, add the gnocchi to the water and cook until they puff up and start to float to the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve a cup of the water from the pot, and then drain the gnocchi before adding them to the skillet with the remaining oil. Over medium heat, let the gnocchi sit in the skillet without moving them until they start to turn golden brown on one side. Then add the zucchini/corn mixture, roasted tomatoes, pesto, and a little of the reserved pasta water. Stir gently to coat the gnocchi and toppings, and then remove from heat and serve in four bowls. Top with grated cheese, and serve.