Sunday, September 30, 2012

Gnocchi all'Amatriciana

It's here!  Fall is finally here and I am one happy camper.  Buh bye oppressive heat, bugs and endless cans of sunscreen scattered about my house.  I'll miss you dear flip flops but hopefully we'll meet again soon.  In the meantime, cooler weather is also the sign that casserole season has begun.  Let the season begin with this simple but flavorful dish that is sure to please.  

4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
½ - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (such as Cento)
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp grated or shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 17½ ounce package potato gnocchi

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook pancetta until crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon. Pour off all but 2 tbsp of the pancetta fat. Stir onion into same pan and sauté 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat until softened. Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, 2 tbsp of the cheese, the thyme and cooked pancetta. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add gnocchi to lightly salted boiling water. Allow water to return to a boil and cook gnocchi 1 minute. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return gnocchi to pot. Stir in tomato sauce and reserved pasta water. Transfer to a 13 × 9 × 2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling.

Recipe originally from Family Circle


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Baked Brie Bites

I love brie cheese but despise when one big lonely hunk of it is put out at parties and people hack it apart just to avoid the rind or just scoop out the melty center.  I always try to find ways to serve it where you use all of this beautful cheese.  I've often baked it with honey or nuts on top but by cubing it into small individual tarts shells it becomes one perfect bite not to mention a little more elevated for any party.  I made these last weekend for a neighborhood party and they disappeared fast. 

mini phyllo tarts (I bought 3 packages of 12 for a nice sized appetizer tray)

Good quality brie cheese, cubed
brown sugar
chopped pecans or sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350.  Place a small cube of brie in each phyllo tart. Sprinkle each tart with approximately just a touch of brown sugar. Top with approximately 1/2 tsp chopped pecans/almonds.  Very lightly drizzle with honey if you like your brie a little sweeter.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until brie is melted.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Try not to eat the whole tray.