Potato Gnocchi with Pesto and Bacon (Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod)

Pesto Gnocchi with Bacon (Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod)

Yesterday was one of those days when I got so caught up in things that I forgot to take something out of the freezer to defrost for dinner. I know most fish or chicken breasts defrost quickly if you submerge them wrapped, in a bowl of cold water but while I was at the supermarket I had a sudden craving for something with pesto sauce, I just didn’t know what. As I stolled up and down the aisles of of the market I found myself in front of the pasta and decided that Potato Gnocchi was the perfect vehicle for my pesto. Fresh pesto is so easy to make so I put three big bunches of basil in my cart. Hmmm, if this was to be dinner it needed to be a bit more substantial and interesting. I decided to add julienned sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, cannellini beans and bacon and serve it with Caesar Salad. The result was delicious! Great Italian Restaurant delicious. In fact if I owned a restaurant it would be on the menu, that is how much my husband and I enjoyed it. We had leftovers so he took it to lunch the next day and his co-workers who tasted it also loved it.
Gnocchi with Pesto and Bacon

Original Recipe by Sandy Axelrod

1 pkg. Imported Potato Gnocchi (17.5 oz.), cooked according to package directions
1/3-1/2 cup Pesto (preferably fresh,  use pre-made if in a hurry)
1/2 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes – NOT packed in oil
4 oz. sliced Cremini mushrooms
1 can Cannellini Beans (15oz.), rinsed and drained
1/2 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
6 thick slices Applewood Smoked Bacon, cut in 1″ pieces

Cook bacon in heavy saute pan until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1-2 tbsps. of the bacon fat. Cook onion in the bacon fat over medium high heat until soft but not colored. Add mushrooms and brown. Add sun dried tomatoes, cannellini beans and cooked bacon to the pan along with the pesto and the cooked gnocchi. Stir gently but well over medium low heat until everything is heated through. Serve with freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano.
Fresh Pesto

3 large bunches of fresh basil leaves
6-9 cloves of fresh garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesano reggiano
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all of the ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Chop fine. With motor running drizzle in the olive oil until a smooth rather thin consistency. Place in airtight container. Cover pesto with a piece of plastic wrap touching the pesto and then the lid. This will help prevent the leftover pesto from turning brown. Will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.

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