A Classic Dish from Italy
We try to cover a lot, here at Dare to Be Different. From exotic flavors to intense spice levels, there’s no area of the food world we won’t explore. But, it’s important to remember, there’s nothing wrong with the classics. Classic is classic for a reason, after all!
You can’t get much more classic than a simple, beautiful gnocchi made with sun dried tomatoes and spinach. This vegetarian and kosher dish inspired by the finest Italian cuisine is a trusty workhorse that can be dressed up or down with store bought or home grown produce and can all come together in less than 10 minutes.
This is an excellent starting dish for beginning cooks. The steps are very straightforward and give you a chance to work on your palette by adding in varying amounts of salt, pepper and lemon. Even if you’re a little light or heavy handed with the pepper, you can’t go wrong when you mix tomatoes and gnocchi!
The Unlikely Rise of the Tomato
It would be impossible to imagine Italian cooking without the tomato. However, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, Italians used to believe that tomatoes were poisonous! Thankfully for us, Spaniards taught their Mediterranean friends how to fry tomatoes in a pan and Italian chefs took over from there. Inventive cooks took tomatoes to make margherita pizzas, pasta pomodoro and other dishes made from the tangy fruit that are still popular today. Part of this popularity is due to the Italian diaspora spread across North and South America.
Now, there are spirited debates over what farms produce the best tomatoes in the world. While the fruit is originally from Latin America, many people (including actor Stanley Tucci) believe the finest tomatoes come from the San Marzano region in Italy.
From “poisonous” to passionate, tomatoes have lived quite the tumultuous life!
What’s So Special About Sun-Dried Tomatoes?
Historically, if you wanted to enjoy tomatoes during the winter, you would need to find a way to preserve this late summer fruit. Sun-dried tomatoes are really no different from any other dried fruit (like raisins). When left out in the sun for a prolonged period of time, tomatoes lose over 90% of their weight through dehydration.
While tomatoes might shrivel up into a smaller, easier to preserve form, one thing you don’t have to worry about is your tomato losing any of its nutritional value. Despite their appearance, sun-dried tomatoes maintain much of their vitamin and mineral content. The natural flavors also become more concentrated, so whether you’re making your own sun-dried tomatoes or purchasing them from the store, a little goes a long way.
- 1 bag Dare To Be Different Gnocchi
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced
- 1 tablespoon oil of choice
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil), chopped
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, sliced
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Cook gnocchi according to package directions.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat & add garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes until lightly golden.
- Next, mix in the sun dried tomatoes, olives & baby spinach. Season with salt & pepper along with lemon juice.
- Mix everything together over medium heat and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Taste and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed.