Dandelion Green Pesto with Sausage and Gnocchi

The sun may be taking a vacation from shining, but it’s been hot as anything the last few days. Which means I haven’t wanted to spend too much time in my tiny, ridiculously hot, windowless kitchen. You can understand why. But since we still have to eat, I had to think of something super fast that didn’t involve turning on the oven. Usually, that would mean settling for some pasta, which reminded me that I had some gnocchi kicking around in the back of the freezer and Nick’s been asking me to make sausages for a few weeks now. And just like that, I knew what to make.

The title of this entry was originally going to be “kale pesto,” but the store was all out so I went with dandelion greens instead, noting the similar texture and color to kale. Excellent choice. I’m always a big fan of pesto, but also hesitant to use store bought containers in the house for fear of accidentally killing Nick with pine nuts. For a first attempt at making my own, I have to say it was pretty successful, even though it looked a bit like a science experiment gone awry in my blender.

Along with the dandelion greens, I did some “cleaning out the refrigerator” and used the last little bit of basil, a few spicy jalapeños, and a lemon in the mix. Naturally, I added a lot of garlic as well and the flavors really came together. The bitter greens were balanced out by the spicy peppers and the acidity of the lemon played off of the garlic to make a very, very delicious pesto. To keep it the star of the dish, I didn’t add anything at all to the gnocchi or sausage minus the salt in the boiling water.

Dandelion Green Pesto with Sausage and Gnocchi

  • 1 bag frozen gnocchi, cooked to package directions
  • 6 sweet Italian sausages
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens, roughly chopped
  • large handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi to package directions. Meanwhile, heat up a large skillet and start cooking the sausage.

While all of that is going on, add the remaining ingredients to a blender or ideally, a food processor, and pulse until you reach your desired consistency. If the pesto seems too thick, add more olive oil.

When all three components are done, toss them together in a large bowl and serve. You’ll likely have more pesto than you need which you can save for a nice pasta dish later in the week.

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