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Bowl of gnocchi with summer squash, basil and ricotta

15-Minute Gnocchi with Summer Squash & Basil

Frozen gnocchi is a terrific resource for easy weeknight dinners, like this quick sauté with summer squash, parmesan, fresh basil and ricotta.

My friend, Sara, runs an entire hospital department, a family business and a family of five. I admire the way that she manages it all, making homemade pizza on a weeknight, Dutch babies on the weekend and fresh suppers like this summer squash gnocchi with basil.

One late summer afternoon, Sara served up a wonderful dish of gnocchi with grilled summer squash and basil. The toothsome potato dumplings [pronounced nyow·kee] were the perfect match for tender zucchini and yellow squash sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

All the kids devoured it. This is not something you see when it comes to summer squash–even with adults I know ;). And while it’s fall, my garden is still cranking out the zucchini!

Easy Frozen Gnocchi

Sara’s summer squash gnocchi also got me thinking differently about using frozen. I’d never bought it. But, with so many school sports nights on the calendar, I’m hungry for 15-minute meals.

Bowl of gnocchi with summer squash, basil and ricotta

The great thing about gnocchi? They cook super quick. They’re done when they bob to the surface of the water. So, store-bought, frozen gnocchi is now a staple I keep on hand for times when time, energy and creativity are tapped out.

With options like traditional potato, cauliflower and sweet potato gnocchi on the market, there’s a whole frozen food category to explore.

Two-Step Gnocchi

Ready-to-cook frozen gnocchi makes a simple dinner anytime. But the key to the tastiest gnocchi is a two-step process I learned from my restaurant days.

The gnocchi act like tiny sponges, soaking up all the flavors in the skillet, and they really love butter!

First, you boil it in salted water {just like pasta but so much quicker}. Then, you sauté it in flavorful ingredients–at a minimum butter–plus other vegetables you have on hand. Just add parmesan.

Ingredients for gnocchi with summer squash, basil and ricotta on a sheet pan

For this version, I sauté zucchini and yellow squash in olive oil until they brown, because color equals more flavor. {If you’re still grilling, you can grill the summer squash in advance.}

Then, as the gnocchi cooks, I drain them well and slip them right into the the sauté pan. A dollop of butter coats them deliciously, and I cook the gnocchi until they begin to brown ever so lightly.

Grated parmesan cheese and basil leaves ramp up the flavors. And for a restaurant-style garnish, I dollop a spoonful of seasoned ricotta for a creamy finish.

Bowl of gnocchi with summer squash, basil and ricotta

From skillet to table just like that. And this quick frozen gnocchi recipe rivals mac and cheese as a comfort food favorite–with built-in veggies.

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Summer Squash Gnocchi with Basil & Ricotta

Need a skillet supper you can make in 15 minutes? With frozen gnocchi, this dumpling dish is fast and fresh. Just add summer squash, fresh basil and a dollop of rich ricotta for serving. For a vegan version, skip the parmesan and the ricotta.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword frozen gnocchi, summer squash gnocchi
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author lynnes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta organic
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium summer squash, stemmed, quartered and sliced, about 4 cups zucchini, crooked neck, patty pan
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound gnocchi, frozen or homemade
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter pastured
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed basil leaves

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and have a large slotted spoon on hand. Whip the ricotta until smooth with 1 tablespoon of the parmesan and reserve the rest for the gnocchi. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a 10-inch sauté pan over high head. Add the olive oil and when it shimmers, add the summer squash. Season with the salt and pepper and use a wooden spoon to spread it into an even layer. Leave it undisturbed until it is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Then stir, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic. Allow to cook until the summer squash is tender to the bite.
  • As soon as the water boils, add the gnocchi. After about 2 minutes, they will begin to bob to the surface. Use the slotted spoon to fish them out in batches, drain them over the pot and slip them into the pan with the summer squash. Repeat with all the gnocchi.
  • Add the butter to the sauté pan and continue cooking until the gnocchi are dry and start to brown in spots. Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning.
  • Add the reserved parmesan and basil and stir to combine. Serve while hot in pasta bowls with a dollop of the reserved ricotta.

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