One of my favorite Italian dishes to make is Gnocchi, also known as “little dumplings”.    Typically these are made with potatoes, semolina or flour, eggs, and served with a sauce.  I prefer the lighter ricotta version.  I have to say, these are SO easy to make, you only need 30 minutes and you will have an amazing dinner for your family and friends.  I sometimes make these with spinach and sometimes not.  My recipe and photos are for both.  I hope you enjoy!

You will need 16 ounces of whole milk ricotta, 2 eggs, 1 ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon white pepper and 1 cup of cooked chopped spinach (all the water must be removed).

DSC_0003It helps to have a gnocchi board, you can purchase one on Amazon for about $5.00.

IMG_4659

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan, olive oil, eggs, spinach (if desired) salt, and pepper with a wooden spoon in a large mixing bowl. Add the all-purpose flour in 3 parts, stirring after each addition.  You want the dough to be slightly sticky, add more flour if needed.
Bring the dough together in a ball and cut off one-quarter of it. Dust the work surface with all-purpose flour to prevent sticking, and roll the cut-off piece of dough into a dowel shape about 5/8 inch in diameter. Cut the dowel into 5/8-inch pieces. Dust some parchment paper with polenta or corn meal.  Roll each dumpling on the gnocchi board.

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Place the gnocchi on the prepared sheet pan.  Repeat with the rest of the dough, quarter by quarter.


Place the prepared gnocchi in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the Pancetta Cream Sauce, you will need 1 6 ounce package pancetta, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 shallot chopped, 2 gloves garlic, minced,  ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (if desired) 1 14.5 ounce can Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes, ½ cup heavy whipping cream.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes.

IMG_5208Remove the pancetta from the pan and reserve, leaving the fat behind.
Add the oil, butter, diced shallots and garlic to the hot pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the shallots have softened, about 5 minutes.  IMG_5209

Add the can tomatoes, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes.  Add the reserved pancetta and heavy cream,  cook an additional 2-3 minutes (or until the cream is hot).

Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Serve tossed with a bit of the Pancetta Tomato Sauce, top with chopped basil and freshly grated Romano cheese.  Alternatively, you can freeze the uncooked gnocchi for up to 2 weeks.

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Ricotta/Spinach Gnocchi:
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 – 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup cooked chopped spinach, squeezed dry (if desired)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon white pepper

Pancetta Cream Sauce:
6 ounces thick-cut pancetta (about 3 1/4-inch slices), diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
One 14.5 ounce can Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes
½ cup heavy whipping cream
4-5 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

Combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan, olive oil, eggs, spinach (if desired) salt, and pepper with a wooden spoon in a large mixing bowl. Add the all-purpose flour in 3 parts, stirring with after each addition.  You want the dough to be slightly sticky, add more flour if needed.

Bring the dough together in a ball and cut off one-quarter of it. Dust the work surface with all-purpose flour to prevent sticking, and roll the cut-off piece of dough into a dowel shape about 5/8 inch in diameter. Cut the dowel into 5/8-inch pieces. Dust some parchment paper with polenta or corn meal.  Roll each dumpling on the gnocchi board. Place the gnocchi on the prepared sheet pan.  Repeat with the rest of the dough, quarter by quarter.Place the prepared gnocchi in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the Pancetta Cream Sauce, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan and reserve, leaving the fat behind.
Add the oil, butter, diced shallots and garlic to the hot pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the shallots have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the can tomatoes, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes.  Add the reserved pancetta and heavy cream,  cook an additional 2-3 minutes (or until the cream is hot).

Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Serve tossed with a bit of the Pancetta Tomato Sauce chopped basil and freshly grated Romano Cheese.   You can freeze the uncooked gnocchi for up to 2 weeks.

Buon Appetito!

Ricotta/Spinach Gnocchi with Pancetta Tomato Cream Sauce


Spinach Ravioli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pancetta Butter Sauce

Spinach Ravioli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pancetta Butter Sauce

This is my favorite Christmas dinner Italian course and has become a tradition for more than 10 years.  I always love the bright red color of the sun-dried tomatoes combined with the green spinach filling of the pillows, aka ravioli, with a touch of fresh basil.  So festive.  If you do not have the time to make you own ravioli, another tradition, you can always purchase some fresh spinach ravioli at your local grocery store.  This sauce is made in about 5 minutes time.  I pair this with a beef tenderloin with a mushroom wine reduction sauce, Dauphinoise Potatoes, and some fresh haricot vert, blanched and sautéed with lemon infused olive oil.  This years dinner will be complete with a festive Peppermint Cheesecake, recipe forthcoming.

 

Pasta Dough:
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
(for red pasta dough, add 1 tablespoon tomato paste and omit the salt)

Ravioli filling:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10-ounce) bag spinach, stems removed
salt & pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 large egg
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Sun-Dried Tomato-Pancetta Butter:
1 (4 ounce) package thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
½ stick butter
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, diced
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped, for garnish

See my blog for directions on how to make the pasta dough, spinach filling, and forming the ravioli.

https://foodsinthefastlane.me/2011/12/04/spinach-and-ricotta-cheese-filled-ravioli

To make the sauce, place the chopped pancetta in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, removed the pancetta to a paper towel to drain. Add butter, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, and black pepper to skillet and cook over medium heat until butter is melted. Add reserved pancetta, toss sauce with cooked ravioli. Top ravioli with fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Bon Appetito!!!

Spinach Filled Ravioli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pancetta Butter Sauce


“Live at 9” – 3 Delicious Vegetable Dishes

Spinach, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, grape tomatoes, leeks, butternut squash…oh my…vegetables can be the center of your meal. Check out my latest “WREG Live at 9” demonstration to see how easy these vegetables are to make and just how yummy they are to eat!

Italian Spinach

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound baby spinach, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

Over medium high heat, melt butter and oil until melted. Add red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook 30 seconds (do not let garlic burn). Add chopped spinach and sauté until wilted. Add beaten eggs and toss until egg is cooked. Stir in parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Italian Spinach

Italian Spinach

Oven Roasted Vegetables with Weber® Just Add Juice Herb & Garlic Marinade

1 package Weber® Just Add Juice Herb & Garlic Marinade Mix
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced into ½-inch pieces
½ cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
½ pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with pan spray. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss until completely combined. Place vegetables on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

Oven Roasted Veggies

Oven Roasted Veggies

Crispy Cauliflower Galette

1 head cauliflower
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
¾ cup Pankos (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon chives
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less to taste)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons corn oil, divided
Sour cream, if desired

Cut cauliflower into florets and cook in salted boiling water, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash cauliflower with vegetable masher. Stir in cheese, pankos, chives, egg, white and cayenne pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch, nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. When butter and oil have heated, press cauliflower mixture into skillet and cover. Cook over medium heat until crisp on the bottom, pressing occasionally with a spatula, about 5-10 minutes.

Place a rimless flat dish on top, large enough to cover pan, and invert the galette onto the dish. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and oil to the same pan, then slide the galette, browned-side up, back into the pan.

Cook until crisp and golden on the second side, about 5 minutes longer. Slide galette into serving dish, cut into wedges, and top with sour cream, if desired.

Crispy Cauliflower Gallete

Crispy Cauliflower Gallete

Buon Appetito!!!