A creamy pasta recipe with a soy cream sauce
This gnocchi recipe evolved from a craving for a creamy pasta dish. I’m lactose intolerant. So I typically have to avoid the sensual effect of a cream-based pasta dish. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love the sensation of a great cream sauce, the way it fills the mouth with an almost velvety sensation. Sadly, it’s a pleasure I generally avoid. But I’ve experimented with using soy milk as a cream substitute over the years. And I find, depending on the soy product I use, I can come very close to replicating the sensuality of a rich and seductive cream sauce.
This Creamy Gnocchi is made with a sauce made from soy milk seasoned with shallots. I do finish the dish with Parmesan but if you’re trying to avoid cheese, you can leave it out or just a vegan cheese substitute. (Just be sure to balance the final flavor with salt and pepper.)
How to make your gnocchi recipe more nutritious
I love the way a rich cream sauce compliments the soft, pillowy texture of gnocchi. But I also find a big bowl of creamy gnocchi on its own a little boring. That’s why I layered the flavor and texture with sliced button mushrooms and a couple handfuls of baby spinach. The vegetables not only add texture but the value of nutrition.
The earthy flavor of the mushrooms helps season the sauce. But they also add protein to the dish. (A serving of mushrooms provides as much as 2 grams of protein.) For these, and many other reasons, mushrooms are among my favorite aphrodisiac ingredients. Find out more.
As for the spinach, it adds a tannic bite this gnocchi recipe really needs. And since spinach is a good source of iron, potassium and folate, you really don’t want to skimp on the vegetables. The one thing you can alter is the “cream.” If you have no issues with dairy–or cholesterol, feel free to make this creamy pasta with cream or half and half instead of soy milk. You can also try using rice or hemp milk. But I do not recommend making your creamy gnocchi sauce with almond or coconut milk. The sweetness of these beverages just don’t work in this particular sauce.
Pairing your gnocchi with wine
What I DO recommend is serving this gnocchi recipe with a favorite wine. I generally pair these pillows of creamy gnocchi pair with a Chardonnay in winter or, depending on my mood, a more crisp white like a Sauvignon Blanc or Albarino. But you can also go red if you like. I’ve tried this dish with a Chianti and a Pinot Noir and I’d be happy to eat it with pretty much any wine you’re pouring!
Creamy Gnocchi with Spinach and Mushrooms
- 1 16 oz gnocchi either homemade or fresh, prepackaged
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 10 oz button mushrooms sliced
- 1/8 cup dry white wine
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 cup soy milk
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 3 cup fresh baby spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions.
- While the gnocchi is cooking, add butter and olive oil to a saute pan over medium-high heat. Heat until the butter is completely melted.
- Add the shallot and saute until tender, about 1 minute.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with the sliced mushrooms. Let them rest for one minute then saute until tender, about 2-3 more minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Add the white wine and let it reduce slightly, continuing to stir the mushrooms for 30 seconds-1 minute.
- Add the garlic and the soy milk. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese, (optional).
- Add the spinach and stir until it wilts, approximately 1 minute.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the cream sauce from the heat and add in the gnocchi, gently folding it in the sauce to coat.
- Serve immediately.
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