By Julia Barton DIGITAL PRODUCER
Pasta has always been a camping classic for me. It’s cheap, easy and quick to make. Dried pasta is shelf stable and stays good even after being carried around in the bottom of a backpack or sitting in a hot car. A jar of pasta sauce is virtually effortless to use and dried tomato paste makes for a backpacking-friendly substitute. It’s hard to ask for more, but a few easy alterations can make this classic into quite the gourmet camp dinner.
Gnocchi is an Italian potato dumpling that can often be found at grocery stores next to regular dried pasta. You can pair this with any cheese, but for the sake of this recipe I’ve chosen parmesan because it’s a hard cheese that can go unrefrigerated for up to two weeks, making it ideal for camping.
If you’ve read this column before, you may recall that I hate washing dishes while camping, so of course this recipe uses just one pan for maximum clean-up ease. This recipe should make enough for three people and could easily be made on either a two-burner propane stove or a backpacking stove.
- 16 oz package of shelf stable potato gnocchi
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
- 6 oz hard parmesan cheese, shredded or cut into thin slices
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add in half of the gnocchi. Cook covered without mixing until golden brown on one side. Place the cooked gnocchi in a bowl and repeat with remaining olive oil and gnocchi.
- Add butter to the pan and stir frequently until it begins to brown, about 1 minute. To this, add garlic and a pinch of both salt and pepper. (My ancestors are Irish so I’m not a fan of spice, but you could add in some heat here if you want with red pepper flakes or chili powder.)
- Carefully add the tomatoes to the pan with a splash of water. The liquid inside the tomatoes will begin to boil and heat the tomato from the inside, so be weary of explosions here. As the tomatoes soften, mash them and continue to stir to create your pasta sauce. Cook until tomatoes are mostly broken down and the consistency has thickened.
- Add the gnocchi back to the pan along with the basil and stir until everything is coated in the sauce. Top with parmesan and cover for a few minutes, allowing the cheese to melt over the top of the dish.
- Remove the pan from the heat, top with a few more basil leaves and enjoy!