This Simple (yet Ingenious) Trick Will Give You the Best, Crispiest Gnocchi All Summer Long
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I love the way pasta transforms with the seasons. The base of noodles stays the same throughout the year, but you get to dress it up with whatever’s at the market. In the fall and winter months, I like filling my pasta bowl with creamy winter squash, or tossing spaghetti with a stewy tempeh Bolognese. In the spring, it’s all about garlicky, lightly-buttered noodles topped with asparagus and fresh peas. And in the heat of the summer, I really don’t want a sauce at all: just give me fresh, bursting tomatoes that coat the noodles with their sweet juices.
In this recipe, both the ingredients and the technique speak to the season, because everything — including the gnocchi — is cooked on the grill. That means you can stay outside and eat it al fresco, paired with a glass of rosé and a pretty summer sunset.
The Best (and Easiest!) Way to Cook Gnocchi in the Summer
One of the smartest recipes we’ve ever shared on Kitchn is this Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies. It introduces a faster, easier way to cook the plump potato dumplings (roast ’em instead of boiling!) — and it genuinely results in better-tasting gnocchi.
Inspired by this technique, I tossed refrigerated gnocchi in olive oil, threaded them onto skewers, and placed them on the hot grill. To my delight, it worked like a charm: they crisped up on the outside and remained chewy and tender on the inside, and are simply perfect paired with juicy grilled tomatoes and strands of summer squash.
Before you start: Not all gnocchi is suitable for the grill. Frozen gnocchi, even once thawed, will crumble if you try to thread it onto skewers. And shelf-stable gnocchi isn’t pliable enough. For that reason, the only gnocchi suitable for grilling is refrigerated gnocchi. If you’re having trouble skewering them (or would prefer to use a different kind) you can still make this recipe; simply place the gnocchi in a grill basket.
Grilled Gnocchi with Summer Squash and Burst Tomatoes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
skewers, soaked in water at least 30 minutes if wooden
- 3 cloves
- 4 tablespoons
olive oil, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon
kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 pints
grape or cherry tomatoes (about 4 cups)
medium zucchini or yellow squash (about 10 ounces), thinly shaved with Y-shaped peeler or mandoline, core discarded
- 12 to 16 ounces
fresh (refrigerated) potato gnocchi
- 1/4 cup
finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
Torn fresh basil leaves and red pepper flakes, for serving
Heat an outdoor grill to medium-high, direct heat (400 to 450°F).
Whisk the garlic, 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper together in a large bowl. Add tomatoes and toss to coat. Thread the tomatoes onto 10 of the skewers (8 to 10 per skewer). Set aside on a rimmed baking sheet.
Add the squash ribbons to the now-empty tomato bowl (do not wash), season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and toss to coat in the remaining oil and garlic. Fold each ribbon back onto itself like an accordion, thread the squash onto 2 of the skewers. Transfer to the baking sheet with the tomatoes.
Place the gnocchi in the same bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Thread onto the remaining 8 skewers (about 10 per skewer). If your gnocchi are breaking as you thread them, place them in a grill basket or perforated grill pan. Do not wash the bowl.
Place the gnocchi skewers or grill basket of gnocchi on the grill. Cover and grill for 5 minutes. Uncover, flip or toss the gnocchi, and place the tomatoes and squash on the grill grates (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your grill). Grill, turning occasionally, until the tomatoes are blistered and skins are beginning to split, the ends of the squash are charred, and the gnocchi is crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer everything back to the baking sheet.
Remove the gnocchi, tomatoes, and squash from the skewers or basket to the reserved bowl. Add the cheese, basil, and a few pinches red pepper flakes and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.