There are tons of Italian cookbooks in my library. Each one is filled with pages and pages of pasta and tomatoes. And each book has its own recipe, or ricetta in Italian, for minestrone. But no other recipe satisfies the need for healthy comfort food like minestrone with gnocchi!
Those delicious, potatoey pillows of dumpling dough we call gnocchi are amazing in minestrone. Whatever you’ve known as boring vegetable soup should be stricken from the record.
From my first experience (or every experience, pretty much) with frozen gnocchi in tomato sauce from Trader Joe’s, I was sold on the softer, cozier alternative to pasta.
And what would a hearty minestrone be without Tuscan Kale (um, straight from 18th century Tuscany) and the meaty, fiber-rich kidney bean?
Canned whole tomatoes make the traditional minestrone tomato broth, which is after all not so traditional if you read the little box below.
This minestrone with gnocchi is an easy, 30-minute vegetarian meal. Vegan if you use veggie broth and dump the parmesan. It doesn’t simmer long and the gnocchi cook in just a few minutes at the very end. How to tell the gnocchi are done? As I read somewhere, they “learn to swim.” Once they start to float, they’re ready.
If you’ve ever made soup with pasta in it, you know that normal noodles grow to gigantic size sitting in the leftover soup in the fridge. Not so with the gnocchi. They won’t overpower the leftovers like magical sea monkeys.
I like to make minestrone with gnocchi when I’ve eaten a bit unhealthy recently and want to eat a load of vegetables but still be warm and cozy inside.
Minestrone with Gnocchi
Comforting Italian vegetable soup made with filling potato gnocchi
|Prep Time: 10 minutes|
|Cook Time: 35 minutes|
|1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the carrots and onion and cook until softened.||2. Add in the garlic and stir for about a minute until you can smell it.|
|3. Crush the whole peeled tomatoes and add to the pot. To avoid making a mess, only squish the tomatoes within the walls of the pot!|
|4. Add the kidney beans, 4 cups broth and the thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or at least until the carrots are soft.|
|5. Add in the kale and gnocchi. The gnocchi will be cooked in about 3-5 minutes, or when they begin to float. Turn up the heat if necessary to maintain a good simmer.|
|6. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.|
|Tuscan Kale, or Cavolo Nero as it’s called in Italy, is usually available in most produce aisles. Feel free to substitute any type of kale or even spinach.|
|Where to Find Gnocchi: Many grocery stores or supercenters like Wal-Mart stock 16 oz. packages of pre-made gnocchi in the top shelf of the pasta aisle. Olivia’s Cuisine also has a great tutorial on making your own gnocchi or you can also buy a well-known Italian brand here.|