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Gnocchi with Rapini, Pancetta & Tomatoes

This homey pasta supper is made even better with the addition of pancetta—a mild or spicy Italian bacon available at the deli. Use in soups, pasta or crumbled in a caesar salad. While store-bought gnocchi are not quite the same as the ones nonna makes, they do the trick in a pinch. Find them in the pasta section of most supermarkets.

Ingredients

1 bunch rapini
2 oz (60 g) thinly sliced pancetta
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
¼ tsp (1 mL) hot chili flakes
2 cups (500 mL) cherry or grape tomatoes (340 g pkg)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Generous pinches salt
1 pkg (500 g) store-bought potato gnocchi
Grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, trim and discard tough ends from rapini. Add rapini to boiling water and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Reserving cooking water in pot, use tongs to remove rapini and place in a sieve. Press rapini with the back of a large spoon to remove as much water as possible. Coarsely chop. 
  2. Thinly slice pancetta into matchstick-size pieces. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and chili flakes. Cook until pancetta just starts to crisp, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add tomatoes, green onions, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes just begin to burst, about 3 minutes. Add rapini to pan and stir. Keep warm while cooking gnocchi.
  3. If no longer boiling, bring rapini cooking water to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook according to package directions. Remove about ¼ cup (60 mL) of the cooking water and set aside; drain gnocchi. Add gnocchi to rapini mixture in pan, stirring all ingredients together. If it sticks, stir in some reserved cooking water. Serve with grated Romano cheese.
 
Serves 2 or 3
 
 

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