Any choice of vegetables can be used for this recipe, but I always enjoy adding lentils. If you don’t feel like cooking them, or you find yourself preparing this dish during the summer, try adding toasted pine nuts instead.
- ¼ cup finely diced carrots
- ¼ cup shelled fresh peas or ½ cup finely diced zucchini
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- 10 fresh sage leaves
- ½ cup chicken stock, canned low sodium chicken broth, or reserved gnocchi cooking water (Chicken Stock Recipe)
- ¼ cup blanched and peeled shelled fava beans
- ¼ cup cooked lentils
- Pinch of peperoncino
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 recipe gnocchi
- 6 quarts salted water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a steamer insert set over boiling water, steam the carrots, fresh peas, and zucchini separately until each is tender but still firm, about 3 minutes for the carrots, 2 minutes for the peas, and 1 minute for the zucchini. Drain them and set aside. (It is not necessary to steam the frozen peas.)
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and sage leaves, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, fava beans, lentils, peperoncino, steamed vegetables, and frozen peas if using, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
While you prepare the gnocchi, bring the salted water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Cook and drain the gnocchi.
Meanwhile, bring the vegetable sauce to a simmer over low heat and check the seasoning.
Add the gnocchi and butter to the sauce and stir with a wooden spoon until the gnocchi are coated with sauce, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the gnocchi to shallow bowls, sprinkle with the grated cheese, and serve immediately.
Note: For the prettiest dish, trim the zucchini and cut it lengthwise into quarters. Cut away the skin and about 1/4 inch of the white flesh in thick strips; discard the “seedy” center part. Cut these green and white strips into 1/4-inch dice.
For 1/4 cup cooked lentils, cook about 2 tablespoons lentils in a small saucepan of boiling water with 2 bay leaves until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.