Tag Archives: summer recipe

Weekend Cooler Challange Recipe: Spinach Gnocchi with Asparagus & Peppered Bacon

Without a lot of babbling from me, let’s just get to the Weekend Cooler Challenge’s next recipe, shall we? Take it away, Gaylin!

Spinach Gnocchi with Asparagus and Peppered Bacon

Although I’ve taken the pasta plunge and started to make my own ravioli and pasta, I’ve not yet had the time to try gnocchi on my own. The bulk of my gnocchi making experience comes from sitting in an Italian kitchen listening to about three generations of women bicker and laugh and tell stories. That alone makes this little Dutch girl to try and it’s only a matter of time. Until then, however, I get my gnocchi from Tracina’s, a local pasta maker who sells at our farmers market. They’re one of the vendors that cooks samples and lets you try them. In most cases the pasta was made the day before or that morning. When I can’t make my own, this is usually what I buy. Their flavors vary from week to week, ranging from the spinach, which I purchased, to red pepper, plain potato, truffle, and ricotta. There is a vendor at the Charlottesville City Market that sells homemade pasta, sauce, and on some weeks gnocchi. All of it is fantastic! I can’t, for the life of me, remember their name right now, though; so, if anyone knows, please post it in the comments and I’ll link it here!

While the water was coming to the boil for the gnocchi, I chopped half a pound of peppered bacon from John Henry’s and fried it up in the biggest frying pan I own until it was cooked through but not quite crisp. Their bacon is so fresh and meaty that it doesn’t give off a ton of fat, but it was enough to use as the fat in the rest of the dish. Once this was done, I added about a cup of finely chopped leek and continued to cook until it was softened. Into the still-hot pan, I added about a pound of asparagus that I’d chopped into bite-sized pieces (about as long as the tips) and fried it up until it was bright green and crisp tender. I set this aside to cool.

Once the water was at the boil, I dumped in the gnocchi. Because it’s fresh gnocchi, it only takes between 3-5 minutes to finish cooking. I know it’s done when all of them float at the top of the water. I drained these out (saving the water, more on that in a bit) and quickly ran cold water from the tap over them to stop the cooking, then let them drain again thoroughly. Once drained, I added them to the pan with the bacon and asparagus and tossed everything around. I adjusted the seasonings a little with some sea salt and then set it all aside to let it cool completely before I put it in the fridge.

Now, about that water I saved. It was still hot when I drained out the gnocchi, and since I’m all about saving time, I drained the gnocchi so that the water fell right back into the pot I was going to use next for the pasta I was making. I do something similar. It saves time, and it saves water. Also, pasta water makes a great base for soups, or as the liquid for homemade mac and cheese. It can also be used for some breads. If all else fails, it’s great water for my garden (once it cools down, of course)!

The Challenge continues tomorrow, with a squid-ink pasta recipe!


Weeked Cooler Challenge: Zucchini Galettes

Because I am a total moron, I forgot to put this fabulous picture of Gaylin’s Clean-the-Cupboards Granola on the first blog post:
Now I have to go back and edit it, but I wanted folks who may not necessarily re-read all my blog posts (though you should, they’re more fun the second time around when you can really take the time to pick apart all my grammar and spelling errors!) to see how yummy this looks!
Once I realized I’d done this, of course, I took more care making sure all the hard work Gaylin did snapping pics didn’t go to waste. So, there’s food porn with your next recipe!For those of you who haven’t been keeping up, my guest blogger this week and next is Gaylin from “More Than Just the Food.” If you read me regularly because you like my food paradigms, you need to check out her blog–you’re going to love her. And now it’s time for me to shut up and let her share her next recipe…
Zucchini Galettes
I love this recipe. It uses up a huge amount of shredded zucchini and it freezes really well. The crust comes together with 2 cups wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 cup unsalted butter, 3 to 4 tablespoons ice cold vodka (come on! of course we have this in the fridge!), and another 3 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water. This got cooled for while I made the filling and then rolled out into two equal portions on a floured surface. 

Now the filling is a little troubling. It had about 5 cups of zucchini that I’d had sitting in a strainer salted and draining.
I squeezed the crap out of it to get it as dry as possible. Added an egg to this and about 1 cup (lightly packed) of two cheeses. I confess I splurged here. You can use any good cheese you like, honestly. I used a haertkase (mild white) and a Spanish mahon (cheese is one of the few food items I get at the grocery). Mixed up quickly to moisten, spiced with some of the smoked sea salt (still blame you), and plopped half each in the middle of each dough circle. I folded the edges over in the style of a rustic tart and then baked until everything was golden and bubbly, about 25-35 minutes at 375F.

In retrospect, I should have split this recipe into 4-6 much smaller galettes. It would have been much easier to portion out. Cutting these into servings was really kind of a pain in the middle of a hotel room.
This is a perfect summer recipe all around, since most of the folks I know end up swimming in zucchini by mid-July. I can’t wait to make up a batch of these for the freezer.
Swing back by tomorrow  for Gnocchi with Asparagus and Peppered Bacon!