Gnocchi with Artichoke and Zucchini Sauce
My youngest daughter took some time off from being a vegetarian, and then returned to it after being grossed out by chicken on the bone. I can’t say I blame her, as of all the meats, chicken on the bone is probably the meat most likely to turn a reluctant meat eater to vegetarianism. She is only young but very ethical, and her vegetarianism is fully supported by her family. My mother cooked a lot of vegetarian food when we were young, and we were vegetarian before I became pregnant with our little one (until morning sickness and an overpowering craving for bacon sent me into the arms of omnivorousness again). Therefore I have no issues cooking vego food for her and supporting her in her ethical choice, so long as she does it in a healthy way. In my book ‘the healthy way’ means agreeing to eat a wide variety of foods, including beans and lentils, lots of veg, and no fussing when I serve them up. She has actually become less fussy since she stopped eating meat, and will happily eat anything I put in front of her.
This sauce was served over fresh homemade gnocchi, made using a Jamie Oliver recipe from the Cook with Jamie cookbook (of course – the man is the king of pasta and dough).* My husband made the gnocchi (because he is my king of pasta and dough) and I made the sauce, along with an Apple and Strawberry crumble for dessert (I will post that recipe tomorrow). Our Resolute Omnivore was most unhappy, as she ‘don’ like artichokes or mush-a-rooms’ so she heated herself up something else from the freezer. Her loss, I say, as this was really yum. Of course, she did scoff the crumble.
This sauce is vegan unless you serve it with parmesan cheese, as we did. Gnocchi is not vegan, as it contains eggs, so you would have to serve it over an egg-free pasta if you are a vegan.
1 small onion, finely diced – 10 cents
1 clove garlic, crushed – 5 cents
1.5 cans crushed tomatoes – $1.50
12 roasted artichoke hearts in oil, roughly chopped (artichokes in brine is also ok) – $2**
3 tablespoons of the oil from the artichokes – freebie
3 medium mushrooms, halved and sliced – 30 cents
1/2 zucchini, halved and sliced – 30 cents
Heat the oil from the artichokes in a heavy-based saucepan. Fry the onions for five minutes or until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic, mushrooms and zucchini, and cook for another couple of minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft. Add the chopped artichokes, and cook for a minute, then add the crushed tomatoes.
Cook gently on a low heat until the sauce is reduced and thick.
Serve over fresh pasta and sprinkle with either fresh parsley (vegan) or parmesan cheese (vegetarian).
Total cost: $4.25
Per person (serves 6): 70 cents
*Cook With Jamie is an excellent ‘how to’ book for home cooks. I am biased, but it does have my go-to pasta recipes.
**I bought a massive jar of these from ALDI. If you buy them in the little jars it will cost a lot more to use 12 artichoke hearts. I think I bought 1.5 kilograms for $12.99 so I could afford to be liberal, which is great because I love artichokes.