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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Stracciatella with Chard and Stelline

Don’t judge me, but I made this soup for a late breakfast on a particularly chilly morning, and it was perfection. I’ve been really into Swiss Chard since I got it in my first CSA basket, and I’ve been putting it into everything I can think of (especially pizza, pasta, and soup), and as we all know I am obsessed with both eggs and soup, so this was really a winning combination for me.

A quick vocabulary recap: Stracciatella means “little ribbons” in Italian. That’s what the “wisps” of eggs   in this dish are (also seen in its cousin, Egg Drop Soup), and it’s also what the inside of burrata is called, expect those are mozzarella ribbons. Stelline is one of Barilla’s newest pasta shapes – little stars for soup! I love them! If you can’t find them, the O’s that look like Spaghetti O’s, Orzo, or any small Italian soup pasta would be a great substitute.

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Eggs Florentine

About one weekend a month, Tim and I (possibly under the influence of a glass of wine or two) spend an evening planning an elaborate brunch. We decide what to make, and in the morning he gets up early, takes the dogs out, and goes to the grocery store to get all the ingredients we need (I’m a pretty lucky girl). Sometimes we have bubbles or Bloody Marys while we cook together, and sometimes we have friends over, but we always end up with a fabulous meal and satisfied tummies on our day of rest.

These Eggs Florentine have been the brunch dish I have been most proud of. It involves a “fancy” French sauce along with my trick of the year – poaching four eggs at once (ta-da!).

P.S. Tim and I got engaged this weekend!!!

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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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Camembert Mashed Potatoes

If you’re on the hunt for a new, exciting mashed potato recipe for Thanksgiving this year, look no further. Every bite of these mashed potatoes is infused with the special tang of Camembert cheese, and it’s a noticeable (yet mild) surprise for the taste buds. This recipe is unique because the Camembert (with its high fat content) adds all the creaminess that butter and cream would add – so all the mashers need is the cheese and a little milk and you’re set.

I just used a simple Camembert from the grocery store for this recipe, and while it turned out very well, I know a higher-quality cheese would have been even more amazing. A triple-cream cheese, such as Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam, would be lovely, and a fresh chevre would add a lot of extra tang if your family is more on the adventurous side.

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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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Calzone with Rainbow Chard and Sun-Dried Tomato

One of the things I make often when Tim is on the road is pizza (and calzones). They allow me to get a ton of veggies into my dinner, make the house smell awesome, and one batch of dough makes plenty of pies (4 personal size to be exact, so I always have a few in the freezer). I had a bunch of Rainbow Chard from my first CSA basket, and found this delicious looking recipe from Food & Wine – it was a date! (with my oven…)

I have been on a veggie kick, and have found a great way to get lots of servings. When I halve a recipe, such as this calzone recipe or any number of pasta recipes, I halve the “bad” stuff, like the dough/pasta/cheese/oil, but keep the vegetables at the original amounts. It’s essentially doubling the vegetables, which makes me feel like I’m pigging out and gets me extra nutrients, without extra calories or bad fats.

Fancy crust skills from my days at Pizza Express

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