Butternut Squash Gnocchi

I recently found the cooking blog Alexandra’s Kitchen through Pinterest, and instantly became obsessed with the gorgeous images and mostly vegetarian recipes. I was inspired to make this Butternut Squash Gnocchi right away, and had the best afternoon roasting the squash, milling the potatoes, shaping the gnocchi, and waiting for everything to come together.

If you make these, take Alexandra’s advice and read the recipe all the way through. I thought I had done this, only to have dinnertime be upon us and realize that the gnocchi needed to be chilled for an hour. Although it is a time-consuming process, it is actually very easy and so worth it to make. The butternut squash, brown butter, and sage are perfect flavors for this time of year, and this recipe is sure to impress your guests!

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Pasta with Eggplant, Caramelized Onion, and Tomato

While in Greece this summer, I learned to love a few “new” foods, including olives, octopus, and eggplant. These are all things that I had tried before and not had much of an opinion of – in fact, a few weeks before we left I silently judged a stranger at the grocery store for loading up on eggplant (I know, I am really friendly).

Greek inspiration

The game-changer for me was a delicious dish of eggplant, red pepper, and potatoes baked in a tomato sauce. The vegetables were tender and had all absorbed the flavor of the sauce and seasonings – I was smitten.

This pasta is a take on the baked vegetable dish that I enjoyed so much while abroad. Eggplant and tomato sauce, I have discovered, is a winning combination and perfect for this time of year when you want a cozy (yet healthy) meal.

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Pumpkin Lasagna

Pumpkin Lasagna sounds a little strange, right? Even though it gets put in a lot of sweet seasonal things, pumpkin is just another squash when it comes down to it, and it makes an absolutely delicious lasagna! I made a full batch of this and it has made many a lovely lunch and dinner for Tim and me. If you’ve never tried pumpkin in a savory dish, I would definitely recommend trying this out – it is definitely going to become a regular dinner item in this house!

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Pasta with Whiskey, Wine, Spinach and Mushrooms

I have been a huge fan of The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s cooking blog for years. I have mentioned her here before, and she even commented on my Poached Egg and Avocado on Toast recipe on Tasty Kitchen (eek!). I have loved watching her and her family in real life on her Food Network Show, and when I make her recipes, they are always boyfriend-friendly.

Tim loves whiskey (ha), and when Ree posted recipe for pasta with whiskey in it, I knew he would love it. The only problem is, we are trying to eat healthy, and with lots of carbs and cream, it wasn’t the best option. So I took matters into my own hands and adapted Ree’s recipe to be a little healthier, but still delicious.

This is my healthy take on The Pioneer Woman’s Pasta with Whiskey, Wine, and Mushrooms. I added spinach, used extra onion and mushrooms, and swapped out most of the cream for Greek yogurt. I left the alcohol proportions the same (why not?!), and swapped regular pasta for Barilla Pasta Plus. At 316 calories per serving, it was diet friendly and “cowboy-approved!”

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Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Oreganata Pasta

Having an herb garden is the most amazing thing. Tim and I did some serious gardening this spring – we have a regular garden with tomatoes, squash, green beans, jalapenos, and potatoes.  We also have this amazing planter that runs along the garage (about 15 feet); it has perfect soil and perfect shading, and it has become my herb and flower garden. We have green onions, two types of basil, parsley, thyme, chives, sage, and even cilantro (which I despise). Every night when I’m making dinner, I get such a thrill out of walking to the back yard to snip what I need.

I’ve been visiting the garden often lately because I’ve been making a lot of Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipes. She was on the cover of Bon Appétit a couple months ago, and I made two of the recipes – the Halibut with Mango Avocado Salsa (Thanks, Karen!), and this one, and they were both so great that I bought her new cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. What I like about her style is that it’s to the point, simple, and natural. She talks about her kids a lot, which I like, and includes a significant number of vegetarian recipes for a non-vegetarian cookbook…at the same time, my very carnivorous boyfriend found plenty of options, too. I’m sure I’ll be posting more from her!

Beer and Gouda Risotto

Despite the fact that it has been been between 80 to 100+ degrees every day for the past few weeks, I have been craving risotto like a mad woman. Nevermind the fact that it requires about an hour (maybe a little less) over a hot stove in a house that doesn’t have central air conditioning. I know it’s not just for the excuse to open a bottle of wine (or beer, in this case), and I certainly don’t enjoy sweating any more than necessary. Risotto is fun to experiment with; it’s an enjoyable way to pass the time and end up with a dish that feels like I put a little work into it, even though all it really requires is stirring and sipping a cool beverage.

one for the risotto...one for the cook

I usually use a dry white wine for risotto (see here and here), but this time I wondered if beer would be a successful switch. I’ve been obsessed with Firestone’s summer release, Solace, so that was the beer I decided to use…because of course I had to drink my accompaniment! It will be fun to experiment with beers of different intensities. Solace is on the lighter side. I’d be very curious to try a porter risotto – but maybe I’ll wait for the fall for that one!

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Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

Have you heard of using zucchini as a substitute for pasta? I’ve seen it in raw and cleanse recipes here and there but I never thought it would be something I would be interested in. When I found some beautiful zucchini at our local farmer’s market, I wanted to do something a little different from the usual. Combined with some fresh herbs, garlic, parmesan, and some wonderful black pepper fettuccine that we picked up at the LA Farmer’s Market, it was seriously, surprisingly fabulous!

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