I know it’s quite the mouthful, but believe me, it is exactly what you want your mouth full of. I can’t even begin to describe to you how amazing this dish is. It’s light, fresh, and full – and I mean FULL – of flavor. Gnocchi is one of my favorite dishes. While honeymooning in Jamaica, we found gnocchi on the menu of the Italian restaurant at the resort. This is where I believe I fell in love with the dish. They were made to perfection. Delicate little pillows, lightly coated in a Gorgonzola cheese sauce and served with grilled vegetables. They just melted in your mouth. I’m not even kidding when I say that we had gnocchi every single day of our honeymoon. Have you ever seen the show “Best Thing I Ever Ate” either on the Food Network or the Cooking Channel? They belong on there.
The other night, I was craving my Lemon Pasta with Garlic Basil Chicken, but I didn’t have basil and I didn’t have chicken. As I am rummaging through the fridge, I found two heads of cauliflower that I forgot I picked up last week. I thought to myself, “Why not make cauliflower gnocchi and a similar sauce to the lemon pasta recipe?” So I got to work and voilá! Cauliflower Gnocchi with Kale and Sweet Peas in a Creamy Lemon Sauce was born. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
Also, pre-made gnocchi work perfect for this dish. Just boil the gnocchi according to the packaging. You’ll want to start with step #2 in the directions, omitting the beaten egg. Then jump to step #10.
Cauliflower Gnocchi with Kale and Sweet Peas in a Creamy Lemon Sauce
1 head of cauliflower
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
3 cups flour (used in 1/2 cup increments, but might not need it all)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 stick or 8 tbsp butter (divide into 5 tbsp and 3 tbsp)
2 lemons (the zest from 1, juice from both)
1/2 cup starchy pasta water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups fresh parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish), grated
3 cups kale, chopped
1 1/2 cups sweet peas, frozen or fresh
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 400°.
1. Wash the cauliflower, cut into florets, and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss then bake for 15 minutes. Flip the florets and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
2. As the cauliflower bakes, prepare and set aside:
-beat the egg
-zest one lemon
-juice both lemons
-measure the oil into a sauce pan
-put the 5 tbsp butter in sauce pan with oil
-grate the parmesan cheese
-wash, dry, and chop the kale
-measure the sweet peas
3. Once the cauliflower has finished baking, let cool for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower to a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the food processor as you go.
4. Add the cauliflower mash to a mixing bowl. Add the beaten egg to the cauliflower. Using an electric mixture fitted with a dough hook, mix until incorporated, again scrapping down the sides as you go.
5. 1/2 cup at a time, add the flour to the cauliflower mixture and until incorporated. Only add the flour in increments of 1/2 cups. The amount of flour you will need will depend on the amount of moisture in the cauliflower. Once the dough does not stick and pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl, the dough is ready.
6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add a liberal amount of salt. As the water comes to a boil, divide the dough into 4 equal sections.
7. On a floured surface, with floured hands, roll a section out into a snake about 1 inch thick. Slice the dough snake into 1 inch pieces and carefully roll each 1 inch section into an oval/egg shape.
8. Using a dinner fork, place the back of the fork against the gnocchi and gently press and drag across each piece of gnocchi to the ends of the fork. Repeat steps 7 & 8 with the remaining 3 dough sections.
9. Place 20 gnocchi at a time in the boiling water. Once the gnocchi start to float, let cook for another 60-90 seconds. Remove from boiling water with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl, then toss with a little oil to keep them from sticking. Repeat until all gnocchi is cooked. Reserve 1/2 cup of the water and keep the remaining water boiling.
10. Add the kale and peas to the boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove and drain.
11. Place the sauce pan with the oil and butter over medium heat. Whisk together until the butter has melted. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, pasta water from step 9, and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and reduce to a low. Add the grated parmesan cheese and whisk until melted. Remove from heat.
12. Melt the remaining butter and the garlic powder to a large skillet and add the gnocchi. Toss occasionally to lightly brown all sides. Add the kale and sweet pea mixture, along with the creamy lemon sauce, to the gnocchi and toss. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes. Plate the dish and finish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Notes: After surveying multiple Keto and Gluten Free friends, I have been told that the best flour to use is Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour.