Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gnocchi with Squash and Kale

I guess I have been in the mood for meatless dinners lately, or it's just that the recipes I actually get around to posting are vegetarian. Anyway, this recipe is from Food Network Magazine and it's SO YUMMY! Previous to making this I had never cooked with kale before so I was a little nervous. I didn't know what kale tastes like and I was worried it'd be bitter, but now I'm a convert. Even though there aren't a lot of spices in the dish everything works so well together. It's full of cheesy, nutty, garlicky goodness. And the magazine boasts that it's a low cal meal. Score!

This picture is from I didn't take one of my own but it really does turn out looking like this.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh sage (I used dried because I didn't have fresh)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (honestly, I wouldn't use much more than this. It adds flavor but with minimal heat, which is perfect. Add too much and I think it'd take away from the other flavors.)
Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water (use broth for more flavor!)
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 8 cups)
1 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi (I used homemade gnocchi and took it straight from the freezer to the pan)
3/4 cup grated Parmesann or Pecorino Romano cheese

Serves 4 (this is pretty accurate)

I followed the recipe exactly. Except that I accidentally added an extra tablespoon of butter in. I started with 2 tablespoons to cook the squash and then I put another tablespoon in at the end like it says to. Whoops. No harm done though :)

It can be difficult to cut and peel a fresh butternut squash so make sure to use a sharp knife and don't be afraid to use a vegetable peeler to get the rind off.  Also, don't overcook the squash in the first step because it'll continue to cook as the gnocchi cooks in later steps. Just make sure it's fork-tender.

Also, I made my own gnocchi. Partly because I couldn't find it in the store and because I've made it before and knew I could do it. It really isn't difficult. It's just time consuming so you have to plan ahead. If you don't have a recipe for gnocchi here's the one I used (from FN Mag...I tried to find it from the original recipe I made that called for gnocchi but it doesn't have a link. I guess they only give you the recipe in the magazine):

4 large potatoes, fork-pricked
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1. Bake the potatoes at 425 degrees until tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly, then halve and scoop the flesh into a ricer or food mill; press into a bowl (you can also mash well with a fork).

2. Add the egg, cheese, butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; stir with a fork until combined. Add the flour and stir to make a rough dough, then mix by hand until smooth. Add more flour if it's sticky.

3. Gather the dough into a ball on a floured surface and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-inch long, 1/2-inch thick log with your hands.

4. Cut the logs into 1-inch pieces. Freeze on floured baking sheets until ready to cook (once frozen, store up to 1 month in a sealed container).

The squash and kale recipe has you cook your gnocchi with all the other ingredients, but if you were to cook them separately you:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
2. Add the gnocchi, stir and cook for 1 minute after they float, about 3 minutes total.
3. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the pot with your sauce.

I seriously think you should try this. It's a perfect Fall dinner and it really only takes about 35 minutes, like the recipes claims. At least if you've made your gnocchi ahead of time. I think this recipe is a winner and I hope you do too!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Caprese Grilled Cheese w/Baked Zucchini Sticks

OK. So I totally made up the name for the sandwich. I got the "recipe" from Pinterest (oh, how I love thee!). The link takes you to, but not directly to the recipe, just to "most favorited all-time - page 3". I can't even find the same photo on that page that I pinned to my food board, but thankfully the original pin had all the ingredients. I call it the caprese grilled cheese because it has fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil pesto on the inside. Yum.

Ingredients, Caprese grilled cheese:
Fresh mozzarella
Sliced tomatoes
Basil pesto- I used store bought stuff b/c I didn't feel like making my own.
Bread- I went with sourdough here. There was no suggestion for bread and that's what sounded good to me in the store.

Directions (does anyone really need directions for making grilled cheese??):
Spread the pesto on one or both sides of the bread, layer with tomatoes and mozzarella, and cook in a pan, turning once. It's as simple as it gets. I waned to share this recipe because I'd never thought of doing this to grilled cheese. And it was delicious.