Macadamia Pesto Gnocchi with Zucchini & Arugula

So much to say about this one.

Like how I was in a horrible mood on Monday night before we made this. Or how Joey’s mom gifted us with the bouquet of fresh homegrown basil we used for it. Or how paying over $4 for pine nuts when macadamia nuts are only $2 is plain stupid. But let’s start at the beginning.

When we were in Vail a few weekends ago, I had an amazing gnocchi dish at Bol. Crispy gnocchi, spicy arugula, toasty pine nuts and perfectly sautéed zucchini slices. Ohhhhh. I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. So even though I was in a bad mood and it was already kind of late and I didn’t really have a concrete plan for recreating my amazing dinner, I just kind of went with it. And here’s the thing. It turned out amazing.

Like, “this is better than the original” amazing.

Like instant mood lifter amazing.

Like write about it immediately after putting my fork down amazing.

Macadamia Pesto Gnocchi with Zucchini & Arugula

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts (I just used those little bags from the baking aisle)
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (+ more to sauté zucchini and brown gnocchi)
  • 1 package gnocchi
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 3-4 cups arugula
  1. To make pesto, combine basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and macadamia nuts (reserve 1-2 tablespoons nuts) in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Add cheese and pulse to combine, then drizzle in olive oil and process until it all comes together.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add gnocchi and cook until gnocchi pieces float to the surface then drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the water.
  4. Slice zucchini, then heat a drizzle of olive oil and add zucchini slices to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until soft and slightly browned.
  5. Remove zucchini, add another drizzle of olive oil and place gnocchi in the pan in a single layer. Add remaining macadamia nut pieces to toast with gnocchi. Once gnocchi are browned, flip and repeat on the other side.
  6. Add in arugula, cook for 1 minute or until just barely wilted.
  7. Add gnocchi mixture to zucchini in a large bowl. Thin pesto out by mixing 2-3 tablespoons pesto with 3-4 tablespoons reserved water.
  8. Mix pesto into gnocchi mixture, serve and be astounded by how good everything is.

Serves 3-4

Total Time: 30 minutes

Guaranteed to erase bad moods and give swanky upscale restaurants a run for their money.

Last Summer Hurrah

It’s about this point during the year when I realize it won’t be summer much longer.  Then I’m in panic mode and am frantic to fit in one last summer hurrah.  This year, that last summer hurrah turned out to be a weekend getaway to Vail and although we were only gone for 48 hours, it was the perfect “I need one last summer adventure before I can let go” trip.

We wanted to go up to Glenwood Springs, but I’ll be honest, the hotels there are not that nice.  And not that cheap.  So we opted to stay an hour away in Vail.  Which happens to be a pretty cute little mountain town.

Turned out the Vail International Dance Festival was also going on this weekend, so after getting into town on Friday evening we grabbed dinner and the Ballroom Spectacular.  Both were fantastic.  We ate at Bol, which is this sophisticated restaurant with a super swanky bowling alley hidden away in the back.  And I ate the best gnocchi ever.

We spent the entire day in Glenwood on Saturday.  Well, after Joey fit all this somewhere.

As a child, my parents drove us, and usually Hannah, up to the hot springs where we could spend countless hours in the pool and somehow never be bored.  I have so many fond memories of that pool, and even though I hadn’t been in two years, being there felt so familiar.  Except now I can leave the pool and get a “Naughty Rootbeer” at the Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co.

We woke up early on Sunday morning to watch the sunrise then immediately went back to bed.  It was 40 degrees and we were freezing.  I almost forgot what it felt like to be cold.

Before we headed back we stopped at the Vail Farmers’ Market, which turned out to be huge and much more artist and restaurant-friendly, than farmer-friendly.

Aaaand, I got to see this little guy.

So maybe it wasn’t technically a perfect vacation.  We got lost, were 25 minutes late to our show, almost hit a bear, got lost again, were cold at times and some of us may have been hungry and crabby on Sunday morning, but you know what?  It’s the imperfect parts of vacation that make it so memorable.  I needed that reminder.

Now we’re home, unpacked and finally ready to say goodbye to summer.