Welcome to our new, recurring series- Camp Chef! In this series of posts, we will discuss cooking in the backcountry and highlight some of our favorite recipes to use in a variety of situations. We will focus on simple, easy, and nutritious recipes that have proven delicious in the mountain environment, and offer related tips & tricks for staying happily fed in the backcountry.
Cooking & eating on a longer mountaineering trip can quickly become dreary. The ease of use of performance foods & dehydrated meals can give way to gut-rot & a loss of appetite. One of the best ways to reduce the monotony of food in the backcountry is to incorporate some fresh-cooked recipes into your itinerary. While these meals are more complicated to cook and heavier, they offer a nice break from bland, processed alternatives.
We love a hearty pasta meal in the backcountry – warm, cheesy, easy to cook, and packed with carbs, these meals hit the spot after a long day of climbing. This menu is also easy to adjust and allows for substitutions to be made easily to accommodate for dietary restrictions.
The recipe can easily be modified based on number of climbers and food preference, but the basics are:
- 1lb boxed gnocchi (for 2-3 people)
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 packets dry pesto sauce mix
- 1 bag baby spinach (washed)
- Pack of 4 precooked chicken sausages
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- Shredded Parmesan, to taste
- Salt , pepper, red pepper flakes
Begin by melting the butter in a frying pan (if available – standard cookpot works too). Add the spinach to begin cooking down – once the spinach begins to reduce, add the sausages and mix well. Once the sausage is cooked, cover this pot and set aside.
Bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil, then add the gnocchi. After they are fully cooked (1-2 minutes), drain, saving a little cooking water in the pot. Add 2 packets of dry pesto mix. Along with the olive oil and mix to combine and coat the gnocchi evenly. Add your cooked spinach and sausages, then mix everything together and spice to taste. Top with parmesan and enjoy!
Check out Matt’s video instructions to see more.