Creamy pasta with a surprising ingredient
I came up with this recipe one day when I was craving a creamy pasta dish. Because I’m lactose intolerant, typical cream sauces are a big no-go for me. So I’ve experimented with using soy milk as a cream substitute over the years with some pretty terrific results. 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.)
Layering texture and flavor
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 addition of the vegetables also helps to make it a complete meal. And who doesn’t love a one-pan dish?
The earthy flavor of the mushrooms helps season the sauce. And, of course, mushrooms are among my favorite aphrodisiac ingredients. Find out more. As for the spinach, it adds a tannic bite the dish really needs, so don’t 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.
A dish made for wine
What I DO recommend is serving the dish with a favorite wine. The pillows of creamy gnocchi pair well with a Chardonnay or even 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!
- 1 16 oz package gnocchi
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 10 oz button mushrooms sliced
- 1/8 c dry white wine
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 c soy milk
- 2/3 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 c 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.
- 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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