Beef and Kale Gnocchi with Parmesan and Toasted Pine Nuts

Pure comfort food that won't take 2 hours to make.

Pure comfort food that won’t take 2 hours to make.

Summer calls for raw vegetables, grilled meats and fish, light crunchy refreshing dishes, right? This isn’t that but it’s something indulgent and creamy I’ve made on cooler nights so rather than wait until the fall to post it – you’re getting it now! This is pretty quick to make too – brown beef, cook veggies in the same pan, stir in some flavorings and cook your gnocchi and put it all in your belly. The pictures don’t do it justice but it is so delicious! You’re welcome.

This is comfort food. This is not low calorie and it’s not super good for you. You may be wondering why I’m posting it if it isn’t super healthy, well, it is delicious, easy and I frequently get asked what I eat when I’m craving pasta or bread. This is definitely a meal that satisfies those cravings for me. Plus, I’m a human who occasionally eats things that aren’t good for me – I break my own rules on occasion because that’s how life goes. I do my best most of the time and allow for some leeway because as much as I eat for my health, I also derive joy from it. And one last reason – if posting indulgent comfort food recipes once in awhile gets people in their own kitchens creating home cooked food, that’s still healthier than what is often the alternative!

I’m really not a fan of gluten free pastas or breads so we very rarely eat them.  But I also find I don’t really miss either so substituting with sub par versions of the real deal is just not worth it to me. The reason I don’t think I miss pasta or bead is because I eat lots of fat to keep me satisfied and don’t eat too many carbohydrates that spike blood sugar – which is what causes those types of cravings. Gnocchi is what I reach for when I want chewy comfort food and it only makes an appearance once in a great while which keeps it fun and a special treat.

Gnocchi are potato dumplings that usually have wheat flour added to them to give them that chewiness that we all love. I try to avoid wheat in my house so if I’m feeling really motivated, I’ll make my own without wheat (like these from Serious Eats) or if short on time I use DeLallo Gluten Free Gnocchi. If you tolerate wheat or gluten ok then by all means, use regular gnocchi (or even pasta would work here)! This recipe is gluten free if you use gf gnocchi.

This is creamy, chewy, crunchy, salty and savory. I add parmesan (another rare treat), nutmeg and toasted pine nuts to deepen the umami flavors.  If you like pastas with creamy sauces, you’ll be all over this.  To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of nutmeg but I’ve been using it occasionally with beef lately. It adds a warm earthiness that is a nice change up!

Try this and let me know what you think!

Beef and Kale Gnocchi with Parmesan and Toasted Pine Nuts

1 lb Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef (I use 85% lean, 15% fat)
1 box (or about 3 cups cooked) of Gluten Free Gnocchi
1 bunch of kale, washed, stems removed and chopped
1 onion, diced
1 minced clove garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 – 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1.5 tablespoons pasture butter (I use Kerrygold when I can’t get local)
5 tbsps freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (see note below on toasting)
sea salt
black pepper

In a large saute pan, cook ground beef until browned through, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go. When the beef is mostly cooked, add in the onion and kale and cook for 5 – 6 additional minutes or until the kale is wilted and the onion is soft. Cook your gnocchi while the kale/onion are cooking (you’ll know they’re done when they float – takes just a few minutes), drain and set aside. When the kale and onion are just about cooked, add the garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cooked gnocchi, parmesan, butter and toasted pine nuts to the pan and stir until the cheese is melted and your kitchen smells amazing. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed (some gnocchi brands are very salty).

Mix everything together so that the flavors have a chance to blend.

Mix everything together so that the flavors have a chance to blend.

Note: To toast pine nuts, add them to a dry cast iron skillet (or at least a skillet that you can safely heat dry) and heat on low. Stay close as they toast and shake the pan occasionally so that the nuts get toasted on several sides. The amount of time this will take depends on how long your stove takes to heat up! In a hot pan it will only take a minute or two. Remove them from pan before they burn.

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