If you haven’t noticed by now I have spring on the brain. I will tell you I love winter. I really like coats, mittens, furry boots, and toasting my tootsies by the fire. I like swirling warm, amber cognac in a snifter and sipping it by the fire. I love to ski down wide, snowy slopes while the tall pines whiz by. I like rosy cheeks peeking out of winter hats. I like brisk walks in the chilled air. See, I love winter! On the other hand I also welcome spring. The truth of the matter is, fall is my most favorite season. But, since it is not close I’m ready for spring. Flowers will be blooming, trees will blow green again, windows will be thrown open, heavy blankets are packed away and the air is fragrant with spring blossoms.
Spring also conjures up images of lighter fare. Gone are the hearty soups and stews of winter. Think of chilled beverages, lemonade, spritzers, Sauvignon blanc poured in tall glasses to sip in the late afternoon. Fruits and vegetables become more plentiful in the markets, with beautiful colors to enjoy. Lighter meals are dished up all over America. Pastas bowls are filled, simple soups are sipped and salads are spun.
Today I made a lighter meal for lunch. Lemon-Cream Gnocchi. Gnocchi is a somewhat filling pasta but served in a lemony cream sauce with baby peas and fresh leafy spinach it was perfect for this sunny, warm day. This is a dish that can be served and enjoyed all the way through summer. Changing my recipe by adding fresh shrimp, crab meat or even chicken would make a filling entrée for dinner served with a light salad on the side. It is so simple you can throw it together in just a few minutes and have a delightful lunch or dinner. I hope you will try it when spring fever overtakes your brain.
I’m crossing my fingers for warm, sunny weather tomorrow and through the weekend to be able to finish the “bee yard”. I feel in my heart that my bees are ready to make the trek over to their Orange Bee home. I’m constantly reading about bees and bee keeping and am preparing to give my bees the happiest home ever. Happy bees make happy honey!
1 cup frozen baby peas (not thawed)
1/2 cup heavy cream – (or mix cream and 1/2 & 1/2)
1/4 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes (you may adjust to taste)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups packed baby spinach
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 pound dried or refrigerated gnocchi
1/4 cup parmesan
Simmer peas with cream, garlic, red-pepper flakes, red bell pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a heavy skillet, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add spinach and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice.
Meanwhile cook gnocchi according to directions and drain when al dente.
Add gnocchi and parmesan to sauce and stir to coat. Thin with a little more cream if necessary and heat over low until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.
I could not resist photographing this beautiful red bell pepper. I’m posting it for your enjoyment! I love photos of specimen fruits and vegetables. I had a hard time putting the knife to this perfect pepper, but I managed for the sake of the recipe.