Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Light and bright pesto & roasted carrots.

Last night was Tuesday night, and instead of a "cupboard's bare" situation, we had a number of box items still on our hands.  We ate out a couple of times last week, and also ate a couple meals that didn't rely heavily on box items.  So last night, I wanted to use up what I could in a tasty dinner.  After watering our roses and some other flowers (watering is a ... continuous ritual!), I hopped in the kitchen and got cooking.  I combined elements from two different recipes to create ... Pesto Gnocchi with Roasted Carrots & Onions!
 I wanted to lighten up the pesto a bit, especially since I think that you can still get the classic flavor without all of the classic fat.  I turned to Cooking Light and found a good base recipe, to which I added some extra liquid to make a thinner pasta (normally folks will use pasta cooking water, but I thinned mine with some veggie broth) plus some of the fresh oregano from our box.  Also, I skipped the butter.  (Wow!  Look at me!  I'm usually dumping extra butter into things, but I'm learning the finer points of restraint.  Once you decide butter is not inherently evil, it's easy to get a bit carried away...  I'm working on it.)
I also love roasted carrots, so I thought they would be a great addition to pesto gnocchi.  I used a recipe that originally came from a CSA newsletter.  The original recipe called for cippolini onions, but I used the regular white onions that came in my box this week. 
This meal used up a number of box items that were lurking in the fridge: fresh basil and oregano, carrots, and white onions.  Now if only I could find a way to tackle the beets ...
Here's a recipe that reflects what we ate last night - you could easily swap out different veggies or use pasta instead of gnocchi.  Or just use the pesto recipe in your favorite pasta or potato salad, or to coat some tasty tortellini or ravioli. 

Pesto Gnocchi with Roasted Carrots & Onions
Pesto adapted from Cooking Light; Carrots and onions adapted from CSA newsletter

For the pesto:
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh oregano (optional)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (you can use a bit less if you prefer)
1/4 cup veggie broth

Other ingredients:
1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 large white onions, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup white wine (use something you like to drink - it's a good excuse to have a glass!)
1/4 cup veggie broth
salt and pepper
1 package of gnocchi (4 servings) or pasta of your choice
1/2 cooked chickpeas, rinsed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine carrots, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, wine, and broth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (a little extra liquid is okay).  Roast for about 35 minutes, stirring once or twice, until veggies are tender and beginning to brown. 

While the veggies are roasting, make the pesto.  Combine the basil, oregano, pine nuts, olive oil, salt, and garlic in a food processor; process until a puree forms, pausing once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add the parmesan and process.  Add the veggie broth and process until a smooth puree forms. 

Cook your gnocchi or pasta according to package directions.  When it is cooked, drain and return to the pot.  Add about 1/2 the pesto, most of the veggies, and the chickpeas; stir until everything is coated with pesto.  Add more pesto if you like (I used about 2/3 of the pesto recipe above), or a splash of veggie broth if you like things a bit saucier.  Serve in bowls, garnished with some of the reserved roasted veggies.

No comments:

Post a Comment