You know those certain food memories that you have that come on so strong at the most random of times?
That’s me and pesto gnocchi.
I was nineteen, a freshman in college and just had had my wisdom teeth pulled (four impacted plus dry sockets, thank you very much). I was so intent on feeling better though because the following week, I had the ultimate girl’s trip planned to New York City with my mom, my best friend and my aunt. I don’t care how much your wisdom teeth hurt, YOU DO NOT CANCEL A TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY. Amen. When our plane touched down at LaGuardia, I was still hopped up on pain killers and couldn’t chew on my right side to save my life. Not wanting to ruin the first night of our weekend though, I insisted we go out to dinner so we dined at Bice, a great little Italian restaurant that seems to be all over the place now. Most of the items on the menu required chewing and I was too hungry for just a bowl of minestrone so I ordered the pesto gnocchi, figuring it would be soft enough to go down easy.
Oh, did it ever go down easy! That gnocchi with pesto was, still to this day, one of the very best meals I’ve ever had. Ever. The gnocchi were like little heavenly pillows, and the pesto was delicious as it melted into a soft green blanket on my dumplings.
Unfortunately, when I crave pesto gnocchi almost eight years later we’re in the dead of winter and there’s not a leaf of fresh basil to be found.
Enter arugula! This wintery green makes some vibrant pesto with a hint of peppery spice. It’s a little more robust than basil pesto, but I love it all the same. I like to make mine with walnuts and use just a teeny bit of raw garlic so I can communicate with other humans later in the day.
I also happen to think that Trader Joe’s makes some delicious whole wheat gnocchi that saves me forty-five minutes and a flour covered kitchen. Win.
Grab the recipe over at PBS Food! It’s FRIDAYYYYY! (P.S. save extra pesto—you’ll need it next week!)