Thursday, November 11, 2010

Feeling a Bit... Nutty.

All on my lonesome tonight.  With Offspring #1 off living on her own, and Offspring #2 spending more and more time away from home, I seem to spend more evenings feeding just myself.  Wanted something somewhat quick but still palatable.  And kind of 'stick to your ribs'.  Opted for a some cubed butternut squash sauteéd with some pancetta and spinach.  Tossed it with a bit of cooked gnocchi (packaged) and some mascarpone cheese for creaminess.  A friend of mine was kind enough to give me a bottle of his hazelnut oil from the nuts he grows in a small grove just north of here.  Made a nice finishing touch.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

3 Tbs olive oil, divided
3 slices of pancetta, diced (could substitute a good quality bacon)
1 shallot, finely diced
1/2 of a small butternut squash, cut into 1" cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups fresh spinach, cleaned and dried
1 package of gnocchi, cooked following package instructions
1/4 cup white wine (I used that pesky Chardonnay I had)
1/4 - 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Shaved Parmesan cheese to taste

Drizzle heavy pan (I used cast iron) with 1 Tbs. olive oil.  Sauté pancetta until almost cooked through.  Add shallot and cook and stir until shallot is translucent.  Remove to a bowl and add the remaining olive oil to the pan.  Add the butternut squash and season with salt and pepper.

Cook squash, stirring often, until it is fork tender but not mushy.  Add spinach leaves and sauté until spinach wilts.  Add the pancetta mixture back to the pan, along with the gnocchi.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine and then add the mascarpone, half and half and nutmeg.  Cook and stir until the cheese melts and creates a sauce.  Add in your Parmesan and combine well.  Serve immediately.

*I added some fried sage leaves (which I cooked in the olive oil and then removed before adding the pancetta to the pan) and drizzled with hazelnut oil.

And just to show that I didn't forget...  An ACTUAL photo of the cranberry conserve recipe, listed here.

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