When I set my dad's plate before him, he said, "What in the world are these things??" He apparently had never heard of gnocchi. Haha. I discovered it a few years ago and enjoy it once in a while. It's a lot heavier and more filling than a regular pasta.
In the end, my dad loved this dish. I added extra extra spinach leaves, as you can see how green and thick the pesto is. You certainly don't have to do that. I added as little oil as possible to make it healthier. It was delicious.
Crisp Gnocchi Pesto with Sun-dried Tomatoes & Pine Nuts
4 cups (about half a 5-oz. pkg.) baby spinach, loosely packed
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp. EVOO (I used less)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I used nutritional yeast)
Salt and pepper
1 package (16 oz.) gnocchi (I used whole wheat)
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Pine nuts, toasted, optional
Sun-dried tomatoes, julienne, optional
Using a food processor, puree the spinach, almonds, garlic and 1 tbsp. lemon juice. With the machine on, gradually pour in 1/3 cup EVOO until smooth. Pulse in 1/2 cup "parmesan"; season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired.In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes; turn and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden all over, about 2 minutes. Stir in the grape & sun-dried tomatoes and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pesto. Top with toasted pine nuts, if desired.