Tag Archives: rosemary

No Boil Gnocchi Primavera – Cuz You Know Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!


Sweet-BrownWe all know that even though we may like to do things, such as playing sports, cooking, reading, and gardening, we don’t always do these things.  Why?  My least favorite four letter word holds the answer: T-I-M-E.  It’s a mystery how it escapes us somedays (except when we get distracted watching Michael Bublé videos…or is that just me?), but we never seem to have enough.  As a result, the things we like to do become the things that we do occasionally.  But wouldn’t it be awesome if “occasionally” didn’t have to mean once a month or worse?  What if it could be more often?  What would it take?

Consider the hobby of cooking.  For a woman who can work anywhere from eight to thirteen hours a day, there is one thing that will ALWAYS get in my way…TIME.  So I have learned to cut corners!  Wam-bam-thank-you-ma’am!  These moments come at me usually after 8 o’clock at night when I am starving and really really over peanut butter and jelly.  Tonight, my gastronomic obsession with gnocchi and a pack of this potato goodness purchased 4 months ago is what inspired me.  I wondered why I had passed it up for months and, stay with me as I realize that this sounds like the LAZIEST thing ever.  It shamefully hit me that I literally couldn’t be bothered to boil the water!  And with gnocchi, it’s not just the boiling!  You gotta make sure those royal pillows don’t get stuck to the bottom of your pan (apparently they have separation anxiety)!  Then you gotta catch the suckers as soon as they float to the top and gingerly spoon them out three at a time while all of the other ones cry out at you, “I’m melting! I’m melting!  Oh, what a world, what a world!” (yes…my food talks to me.  Deal with it.).  I see this starchy drama unfold in my mind each time I look at the package, shudder, and go for the jar of Trader Joes Creamy PB.  Well, tonight, I decided to conquer the divas and treat them like bronchitis, cuz even Sweet Brown knows that ain’t nobody got time for that.   Say “hello” to my epiphany.  All lazy anti-water-boilers out there, you’re welcome.

In 18 minutes I had a delicious, nutritious and warm homemade bowl of Gnocchi Primavera that used to take me 25 minutes.  And the only reason that this didn’t take less time is because I had to run outside to my garden for tomatoes and herby goodness.  Forgive my lack of preparation.


3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to cover bottom of pan)

1 heaping TB crushed garlic

1 lb Frozen Sliced Zucchini (I like the frozen as the ice adds moisture)

17 oz Fornari Potato Gnocchi

1/8 tsp Salt

1/8 tsp Pepper

1 c water

4 TB grated Cravero Parmigiano (or whatever you have on hand)

30 Teardrop red/yellow tomatoes

2 sprigs Rosemary

10 large Basil leaves


1.  Heat olive oil in cast-iron skillet/pan (I’m a Le Creuset fan).

2.  Throw in and toss garlic until browned.

3.  Throw in and toss zucchini until ice melts.  Keep burners on medium-high heat.

4.  Dump in gnocchi pillows and toss in mixture for 2 minutes until evenly coated and warmed.

5.  Add in water and turn heat to medium.  Cover and steam/cook for 5 minutes

6.  Slice tomates lengthwise.  Wash herbs and let sit;  Do not dry or cut.

7.  Stir gnocchi and add in parmiggiano.  Cover again and cook for 2 more minutes.

8.  Add tomatoes to gnocchi.  In your hands, gather all of the herbs and tear in chunks over the gnocchi.  Once again, you could chop them but a) I like the rustic, non-uniform look it gives, b) I love that herbal burst of Italy that mates with the steam for a Aroma Therapy baby and 3) I aint’ got no time for that.

9.  Toss tomatoes and herbs until evenly mixed.  Cover and let cook for another 3 minutes.

10.  As my Mamela always says, “En Guete!”

Torn herbs Gnocchi primavera

Gnocchi Primavera


For those who know me personally, I have recently left my job off two-and-a-half years to finally pursue my passions.  So, as I sat in Mamela’s kitchen two Tuesdays ago, contemplating why the world spins and why I had quit my job, I decided that I needed to finally DO the things I keep SAYING I will get around to.  Staring at me was a copy of Jamie Oliver’s cookbook “The Naked Chef”, a book by a person I greatly admire and relate to in food philosophy.  Unfortunately, this specific book of his had always been on my to-do list.  So with an hour before dinner to kill, I cracked it open to page one and was immediately immersed until I reached page eleven.  Then, I simply became inspired.

We can’t keep buying those small packets of fresh herbs from the supermarket.  Quite often we are paying high prices for substandard herbs, and not much of them either…the idea is that fresh herbs are to be picked and used in cooking for a really natural, fresh perfume, not sweating and wilting in plastic.”  (Excerpt from “The Naked Chef Cookbook” page 11.)

Jamie managed to put in ink what I always have thought – that store-bought herbs is nearly tantamount to “cruel and unusual punishment”.  Before you dubb me “Rachel’sDramaticDelusions”, hear me out.

Many are all too familiar with the high costs of packaged fresh herbs that are only good for two days, forcing you to only buy herbs when you know that you will immediately use them.  I do not know about you, but I do not like being told when I can have my favorite pesto gnocchi.  Enter the genius argument for home-grown herb plants.

“Whether you live in the city or the country, whether you’re rich or poor, whether you live on the sixteenth-floor or in a basement flat, it doesn’t matter!  Just stick them in your garden, window-box, flower pot, bucket – anything that doesn’t move!”  (Excerpt from “The Naked Chef Cookbook” page 11.)

While this rules out my wheelbarrow, my family and I have definitely not let the lack of fresh arable land to hold us back or constrain our eating habits.

Mamela interrupted my delusional daydream to ask what kind of starch I wanted with my grilled steak.  Leaving her confused, I rand out to the back of their house to our shared garden and began snipping away.  Just like Jamie said, the perfume of fresh mint and rosemary on my fingertips gave me a calm feeling as dusk settled in and a warm summer breeze rustled through my dad’s tomatoes.

In an hour, I was sitting on Mamela’s terrace under the twinklelights and listening to my dad rant and rave about the refreshing sensation my roasted potatoes gave his palette.  I sat there, sipping my g’n’t, and thanked “The Naked Chef”.



Our sweet rosemary doing its best to keep up with its herbal friends.


Our mint that came back with such a vengeance this season that we had to exile him to his very own and larger pot.












Yukon gold potatoes tossed in mint and rosemary pesto before baking.

Roasted mint and rosemary potatoes ready to be savored.

It’s Not Just for Toothpaste: Roasted Rosemary and Mint Potatoes