Pasta dish reflects spring's maybe-maybe not feel


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Posted Online: April 09, 2013, 10:38 am
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The unpredictable nature of spring — balmy one moment, frigid the next — makes us hanker for dishes that reflect the season's maybe-maybe not feel.

And that was the inspiration for this dish, which blends one of the heartiest of winter pastas — potato gnocchi — with asparagus, a light vegetable that has come to represent one of surest signs of spring. We wanted protein, too, but nothing as heavy as meat, nor as light as beans or tofu. Shrimp, which pair so nicely with asparagus anyway, were the perfect choice.

To tie it all together, we started robust with some crumbled Gorgonzola. And to balance those big bold flavors, a light squeeze of lemon juice.

Spring gnocchi with asparagus and shrimp
Gnocchi pasta can be found in three sections of the grocer — the freezer section (along with the frozen ravioli), the pasta aisle (where they are packaged in shelf-stable containers) and alongside the fresh pasta in the refrigerated case.
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Two 16- to 18-ounce packages gnocchi
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound peeled, deveined raw shrimp
4 ounces watercress
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook according to package directions, then drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the lemon zest and cook until the butter begins to be fragrant and just begins to brown. Immediately add the salt, black pepper, asparagus and shrimp. Cook until the asparagus and shrimp are tender and cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the gnocchi to the pan and toss to coat and mix. Divide the gnocchi between 6 serving plates, then top each portion with watercress, Gorgonzola and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Nutrition information per serving: 510 calories; 120 calories from fat (24 percent of total calories); 13 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 150 mg cholesterol; 70 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 12 g sugar; 31 g protein; 1190 mg sodium.

















 



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  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








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