Parmesan Gnocchi with Lemon Butter and Sage

Parmesan Gnocchi with Lemon Butter and Sage

Marrying a girl from Wisconsin has many immediate benefits. You automatically get to become a legitimate fan of the winning-est franchise in NFL history; you don't need an excuse to drink beer before noon; and you don't need to apologize to anyone for your insatiable love of cheese. Sure I could tell you all of the other reasons I married a girl from Wisconsin, but I'd rather win the day on beer and cheese alone. Crack open a bottle of your favourite brew and get a load of the cheesy goodness of this recipe for homemade Parmesan Gnocchi. It's not difficult at all. In fact, if you want to save yourself some time I won't even be offended if you buy store bought gnocchi and jump to the steps for the lemon, butter and sage sauce alone. It's worth it.

The lemon lends a wonderful counterpoint to the fluffy gnocchi and buttery Parmesan sauce while bringing a delightful aromatic component with the sauteed fresh basil and shallots. Simple flavours; simple instructions; marvelous results. The way every recipe should be!

For the gnocchi:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 cup Ricotta cheese, drained
1 egg
For the sauce:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
12 sage leaves
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
12 fresh parsley leaves
 Make the gnocchi: Combine flour, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest in bowl. Add Ricotta cheese and egg. Mix well with wooden spoon or your fingers until dough just comes together. Do not overwork or dough can toughen.
 Scrape dough onto a well-floured surface and form into a roll. Cut dough into fourths, using bench scraper or knife. Gently roll each piece into foot-long ropes, about an inch in diameter, flouring as needed to prevent dough from sticking to surface. Place dough ropes on lightly floured platter or sheet pan; refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to two hours, uncovered, to rest.
  Place ropes on floured surface; cut into 1/2-inch pieces with scraper or knife.
 Finish the dish: Heat butter over medium-high heat in sauté pan large enough to accommodate all gnocchi without crowding.
 When butter foams, add gnocchi—do not crowd—and cook, turning as necessary, until brown and crisped on all sides, 5-6 minutes. When gnocchi are almost cooked, lower heat to medium and add shallot and sage leaves. Cook briefly to release flavors; then add garlic, lemon juice and water. Cook briefly, allowing sauce to emulsify and thicken a bit. Add 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and parsley leaves. Toss to coat gnocchi.
 Spoon gnocchi and sauce into shallow bowls. Serve immediately.
Servings: 4
Want to find a recipe for that lonely leftover beer in your fridge? Check out these Maple-Glazed Beef Ribs!



Simple and Quick Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Fall Memories, Pumpkin Dreams

Simple and Quick Pumpkin Pie Recipe

"'I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." A marvelous quote my wife recently blurted out in a car ride through the fall country side. I'll ignore the fact that it came from Anne of Green Gables. Growing up in a home with three sisters I've spent a lifetime avoiding Anne of Green Gables, Sarah of Avonlea, Laura of Walnut Grove and Margaret of New York and later New Jersey. In fact, I've somewhat mastered the art of avoidance having grown up without ever seeing Grease, Sound of Music, or Dirty Dancing... but I digress..

Octobers in Canada are magical and we spent a recent weekend at Brooks Farms north of Toronto taking in all of the splendor that is fall. Nature paints a perfect backdrop of greens, oranges, reds and yellows for some October fun. The air is cool and crisp but not so cool that you need to wear a jacket as you chase the kids around outdoors.

Brooks Farms celebrates with a Fall Festival each year and they play up every wonderful aspect of the season. Pumpkin picking, a corn maze and hay rides are a given, but at Brooks Farms they've been perfecting the experience for years. I could hardly keep the kids in one place for long. Zip lines, a massive pillow jumps, farm animals galore, and pig races make it a day full of fun. Corn cob blasters, pumpkin cannons and live zombies just make it ridiculously memorable. The thing I love the most is that fall fun is easy. Whether it's a walk through woods, raking leaves in the yard, or a fun filled day at the farm.

I took inspiration from our fabulous October day at the farm and cooked up a couple of pumpkin pies. This recipe uses pumpkin purée but you can just as easily use freshly roasted pumpkin and puree it yourself! Silky smooth, full of fall flavours, and perfect with a dollop of whipped cream. Both pies disappeared within 24 hours — which I consider a resounding two-thumbs up from my greatest critics. Quick, give this simple recipe a try before the season is gone!

Simple and Quick Pumpkin Pie

Ready-made 9-inch pie crust
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pumpkin Filling:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream and cinnamon  to garnish

 Sprinkle nutmeg over pie crust and bake as per instruction to set. Cool on rack.

 In a saucepan over medium-low, heat milk with cream just until bubbles form around edge of pan. Combine with eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin purée, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Gently pour into pie shell; bake in 450 F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F; cook for 25 minutes or until tip of knife inserted into centre comes out clean.

 Serve chilled with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

Adapted from Foodland Ontario

Feeling Fall-tastic? Try these Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling!


Slow Cooker Moroccan Kugel with Sweet Potato

Hear me now, believe me later. You've just gotta try this dish!

Slow Cooker Moroccan Kugel with Sweet Potato

Comfort food is universal; it exists in all cultures. Warm, slow cooked meals that bring a smile to the end of any long day.

The irony in this dish is that it blends comfort foods from two very different Jewish heritages. The delicious flavours of a Moroccan stew cooked into a distinctly European kugel (pudding). After gently bubbling away in your slow cooker all day your house is going to smell indescribably delicious. Wonderful as a one-pot dinner the grated sweet potato, carrot and onion pudding makes for the perfect aromatic accompaniment to the tender, flavourful beef and hard boiled eggs. 

Hear me now, believe me later. You've just gotta try this dish!

1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 teaspoon salt
1 onion
2 large carrots, peeled
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled
6 whole eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb beef shank

 In a very large bowl mix together the flour, stock, garlic, spices, salt and pepper. 

 Using a food processor grate the carrots, onion and sweet potatoes using the large grate. Add the grated vegetables to the bowl and mix to combine with the spices. Crack two eggs into the bowl and mix to combine. Add the mixture to your slow cooker and using a spatula press the mixture down.

 Put 2 tablespoons of the oil into a large pan and warm over medium heat. Brown the beef shank and then remove and place on top of the sweet potato mixture in the slow cooker.

 Make four small wells in the sweet potato around the beef shank and place the remaining four whole eggs (in their shells).

 Cook over low heat for at least 8-10 hours or overnight. Slow cookers vary greatly in size and temperature. If the sweet potato has not begun to brown, turn up to high for the final hour.

 To serve simply plate sweet potato, top with beef and peeled egg.

Looking for more Moroccan-inspired meals? Try Sarah's Moroccan Lentil Soup — it's also made in a slow cooker!