Whole Wheat Pumpkin Gnocchi Gratin

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I’m back in the United States after one of the best weeks of my life…in Argentina!  I’ll tell you more about it later, but for now…it’s my main dish choice for Thanksgiving 2013.

Ah, pumpkin gnocchi.  (Actually, ah in general for gnocchi).  What could be better than light, pillowy pumpkin-y dumplings nestled in a bit of melty, ooey gooey cheese?  I figured this might be the perfect vegetarian dish for me this year.  And, in all honesty, these little guys don’t take all that much time to make.  You could even make the gnocchi a few hours beforehand, chill, and then simply assemble/bake them right before serving time.

I adapted the recipe here to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of an all-purpose flour, so feel free to play around with what kind of flours you use (I kept the all-purpose flour in the bechamel sauce because I felt a little uncomfortable experimenting with that part.)  You could also substitute another squash puree here-like butternut or acorn squash (just make sure you get all of the excess moisture out).  I also made a few smaller servings in little au gratin dishes, as well as a larger 8 x8-inch baking dish.  You must watch your dishes closely during the baking time to make sure that the cheese doesn’t burn.  My baking time of 15-20 minutes worked well with both baking dish sizes.

Although the sauce here has a little bit of butter in it, it’s worth the extra step of making it.  I took one bite and literally squealed-the sauce makes the dish here.

From me to you, Happy Early Thanksgiving.  I’m thankful for so so many things this year.  :)

 

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Gnocchi

Servings: about 4-6

 

Ingredients

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth

Pinch salt

For the gnocchi:

1 and 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

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Instructions

1. For the sauce: Over medium heat in a saucepan, melt the butter.

2. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

3. Add the wine and vegetable broth, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 3 minutes or until thick.

5. Add a pinch of salt.

6. Remove from heat; set aside, and keep warm.

7. For the gnocchi:   In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, pumpkin puree, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg.  Stir until a smooth dough is formed (it will be a little sticky).

8. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

9. Shape the dough into a 12 x 3-inch-long roll.

10. Cut roll lengthwise into 6 (1/2-inch-thick) strips, and cut each strip into 12 (1-inch) pieces.

11. Place gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet; set aside.

12. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

13. Bring about 10 cups of water to a boil in a large Dutch oven.

14. Add half of the gnocchi; cook 3 minutes or until done (they will float). Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon; place in a colander to drain off excess moisture. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.

15. Lightly spray au gratin dishes (I used Le Creuset’s petite au gratin pan) or a baking dish (I used an 8×8-inch baking dish for the leftovers) with cooking spray.

16. Place the gnocchi in the prepared dishes and cover them evenly with the sauce.

17. Sprinkle with cheese, paprika, and salt/pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

 

Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

November 19, 2013 - 8:23 am

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I love that you made this a gratin!! So delicious!

November 19, 2013 - 11:15 am

Sweetphi - These look absolutely amazing! My husband loves when I make Butternut Squash Gnocchi, but this recipe with the bechamel sauce…not even gonna lie…I might just be the best wife ever and make this tonight!

November 19, 2013 - 1:24 pm

Maria Tadic - Mmmmmm that looks so good!!! I definitely need to try this – love gnocchi AND pumpkin!

November 19, 2013 - 10:52 pm

Joanne - I’m going to make these for me and The.boy this year as a pre-Thanksgiving dinner! Gnocchi are one of my absolute favorite things and homemade just take the cake!

November 21, 2013 - 12:42 pm

Pinterest popular - Hummmm i surlike this gratin.. I will try it
Thanks for share !

December 28, 2013 - 10:58 pm

Courtney - While I liked this recipe and would make again, I could not taste the pumpkin very well and thought the sauce was too thin. Next time I would up the flour by another tablespoon or reduce the broth by half a cup. I made a double batch of the gnocchi and froze half, they cooked up beautifully after being frozen for about a week.

Savory Twice-Baked Potatoes

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Ah, the classic potato side dish.  My (secret) favorite of all the characters traditionally found in a Thanksgiving spread.  That ultimate comfort food-whether they are mashed (butter, please), fried, or even served in a salad-potatoes are all good.  Last year I went with a Duchesse version (also very tasty).

This year I wanted something that could just stand alone, as I was planning on making a big batch for just myself.  So I played around with a twice-baked version with lots of different savory fillings so that this could serve as a stand-alone entree that I could easily pack for lunch during the work week or quickly reheat during a busy weeknight for a simple meal.  These fit the bill.

When the weather gets colder and I’m hibernating in my apartment on the weekends, I like to bake/roast a whole bunch of different things in one single shot to be a little bit more energy efficient.  I usually line two oven racks with squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes (Scout loves getting squash with her food), bake everything thing, and then, during the week, I just use my microwave to reheat things quickly.  This is what I did here.  I baked the potatoes for this recipe, the sweet potatoes for this recipe, and roasted the beets for this recipe…all at the same time.  Efficiency is my modus operandi.

As for these potatoes, you can totally play around with what kind of filling you end up making.  I wanted something hearty and savory, so I used spinach and mushrooms here.  I tried to lighten them up a bit by using nonfat Greek yogurt, but you can substitute sour cream, of course.  Skip the cheese to make them even skinnier.  As for baking the potatoes, I lightly rub them with olive oil and coat them with Kosher salt-then wrap them in foil to bake.  I find that the coating of salt (although a lot of it falls off) makes the skins a little bit crispy and salty…which then makes me want to eat more of the skins (which, of course, is the most nutritious part of the whole potato.)

Enjoy.

 

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Savory Twice-Baked Potatoes

Servings: 5  (I wanted 4 servings, so I bought 5 potatoes, just in case.  I ended up with 5 twice-baked potatoes.)

 

Ingredients

5 Russet poatoes, baked  (To bake:  Lightly prick each potato with the tines of a fork, brush with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with Kosher salt, and wrap in aluminum foil.  Bake at 400 degrees until soft-mine took about 55-60 minutes.)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 cup mushrooms (I used baby bella/crimini), chopped

2-3 cups fresh spinach leaves (I used Earthbound Farm.)

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

 

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Instructions

1.  Once the potatoes are baked and cool enough to handle, cut about 1/2-inch slice of skin/flesh longitudinally off each potato.

2. Very carefully/gently, scoop out the flesh from each potato and transfer to a large bowl.  Set aside.  (You can discard the tops of each potato-make sure to get any extra flesh off of each one, though.)  Transfer the potato shells to a rimmed baking sheet.

3. In a saute pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering.  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

4. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

6. Add the chopped mushrooms, cooking until the mushrooms release their moisture and soften a bit, about 4-5 minutes.

7. Add the spinach leaves to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the leaves turn bright green and wilt a bit, about 2-3 minutes.

8. Remove the pan from the heat and add the spinach mixture to the bowl of potatoes, stirring to combine.

9.   Add the cheese and Greek yogurt to the bowl, mixing until thoroughly combined.  Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

10. Very carefully, using a large spoon, fill each potato shell with the mushroom/spinach/potato mixture.  I liked mounding mine a bit higher than the edges of the shell.  **You might have a bit of filling left over.

11. Bake the potatoes (again) until heated through and the tops start to turn golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.  **Watch your potatoes carefully, as oven temperatures can vary significantly.  You don’t want to burn them.

 

Source:  A Curvy Carrot original.

November 14, 2013 - 8:04 am

Joy //For the Love of Leaves - Yum! This looks so good! I always forget about twice baked potatoes…not anymore!

November 14, 2013 - 8:05 am

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Twice baked potatoes are the best!! This version is so creative :) Yum!

November 14, 2013 - 6:54 pm

Joanne - I would be totally happy eating these as a main course on Thanksgiving! Love the bits of spice and cheese!

November 19, 2013 - 4:17 am

Matskafferiet - Yum, looks so delicious!

November 24, 2013 - 11:23 pm

Marisa - I’m in charge of the sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving and I’m definitely going to follow this recipe! I know russets are creamy, but I have a thing for sweet potatoes and I think these savory additions will be perfect! Thanks for sharing!

Sweet Potato Panzanella

 

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As you are reading this, I am frolicking (or tango-ing) through the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Which is something that I never ever thought I would ever say (write).

But I am, and I’m hoping it’s awesome. (I’m sure it will be.)  The Paris of South America?  Umm, check.  And hopefully next week I can share some amazing photos/stories with you.  I don’t speak Spanish, and I don’t eat meat, but I drink Malbec (my favorite wine), so I am absolutely positive that I will have some great stories to share.

But, since I am writing this post in future-tense, I am still showing a loyalty to all things American and will dutifully continue pre-scheduling posts and continue my Thanksgiving 2013 menu line-up.

This panzanella was a hodge podge recipe.  There’s a component of a sweet potato hash here from Williams-Sonoma, but I thought I would put a salad-ish twist on it by converting it into a nice, hearty panzanella.  Here’s the deal:  this is great as a panzanella, but I will warn you.  You have to handle the sweet potatoes with a gentle hand, as they will break apart a bit if you are too rough.  Actually, though, in all honesty, I thought the combination of soft sweet potato and lightly toasted bread was a great contrast in textures, and I think I may prefer it. And the best part?  This salad has a ton of options.  If you aren’t a sweet potato fan, just substitute your favorite cooked squash here.  And, even though I don’t like 2-day recipes, it really does save time if you bake the sweet potatoes the night before.

This is definitely a festive-in-your-face-Happy-Thanksgiving-panzanella salad (actually, with a few toasted nuts in here for added protein, this could be a great main course…well, at least for me…because I like this kind of food over big heavy meals.)

 

Life is good.  Life is very very good.

 

 

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Sweet Potato Panzanella

Servings:  about 4-6

 

Ingredients

4 cups whole grain bread, cubed and lightly toasted (I used a baguette that I sliced into cubes and toasted in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or so)

3 medium sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3-4 green onions, sliced

1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3-4 cups fresh spinach leaves (I used Earthbound Farm.)

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for about 50 minutes or so.  Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature (or until cool enough to handle).  At this point, you need to chill the sweet potatoes so that they become firm.  Refrigerate until this happens-a few hours or preferably overnight.

3. Once the sweet potatoes have chilled, peel them and cut them into 1-inch cubes.

4. In a saute pan over medium heat, melt two tablespoons of butter.

5. Add the apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple starts to caramelize and brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.

6. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan.

7. Add the green onions and cranberries and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute.

8.  Add the cinnamon, allspice, and sweet potatoes and cook, stirring gently but frequently, for about 4 minutes.

9. Add the salt, stirring gently to combine.  Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool for about 10-15 minutes.

10.  In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread, sweet potato mixture, and the spinach, tossing gently to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper (add in toasted nuts/some sort of cheese if you like).  Enjoy.

 

Source:  Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.

November 12, 2013 - 9:37 am

shobelyn - Oh, I love the new look of your site. I thought I was opening someone else’s blog. Do not get me wrong I love the other look too, but this one look more relaxing and laid back. Looking forward for the photos you will share next week. Have fun.

November 12, 2013 - 2:05 pm

Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen - Such a fun fall take on panzanella! This would a great additional to my Turkey day line up! Hope you’re having a blast in Buenos Aires (I have always wanted to go there!!)!

November 12, 2013 - 6:40 pm

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Oh man, so jealous of your travels! AND this salad is super fab! Yum!

November 12, 2013 - 11:49 pm

Joanne - I’m picturing you tango-ing away as I read this!! With a bowl of this panzanella in your hand. Now wouldn’t THAT be the life?

December 5, 2013 - 2:21 am