Hope all is well. I can’t believe we are two weeks away from my favorite holiday- THANKSGIVING!
I just love Thanksgiving, no pressure of gift-giving, a great meal and desserts, and a great time of the year – I enjoy the Fall season.
This year I am especially thankful because I passed my 1,000 days from a heart transplant and I am feeling well, and my son will be able to visit for the holiday this year.
Last year I slept through Thanksgiving because Bob and I were stricken with Covid. Thankfully we recovered without hospitalization and life is good. I do pray that the pandemic comes to an end soon and life returns to pre-pandemic 2019 days… I am hopeful and waiting for the day when we can all gather once again without worry or fear….. Be safe!
Now on to the recipe I want to share with you …
Every year on Thanksgiving, for our first course, we have chicken soup with escarole and meatballs, which some would recognize as Italian Wedding Soup. In our home, we lovingly call it “Uncle Vinny Soup” because that was my Godfather Vinny’s favorite soup and he would be happy if you served it every day even on the hottest day of the summer he loved it so much. He was thrilled when we named the soup after him.
The link below is for the soup and the story.
If I don’t add a small pasta to the soup such as Acini de Pepe, then we have the second course as a complete pasta course and usually, it is a small taste of either a filled pasta such as tortellini or stuffed rigatoni.
When I was growing up we had the soup with the pasta and then an additional pasta course after that. There was no such thing as skipping courses.
A few years ago, I decided to combine both a pasta dish and a side vegetable as my second course and it was Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi in individual Acorn squash.
Acorn squash is usually small and you can pick out the smallest size you can find and add a small amount of pasta. This is an eye-catching presentation served in the squash with a delicate butter sage sauce.
This looks so beautiful when served and it is a lighter course so that you are not full before the “main event” of the turkey.
I have to say that in an Italian home and I do hate to admit this, but the turkey is usually not the featured attraction (at least not when I was growing up). There was the antipasto, the soup, the pasta, then the turkey and many sides, a salad, followed by fruit and nuts, and dessert which included apple pie, pumpkin pie, coconut custard pie, and Italian pastries with after-dinner liquors and espresso. It is a full day of food and a marathon of eating.
I have reduced and altered the menu quite a bit over the years but still include all my family’s favorites.
I just wanted to share this recipe in case anyone wants to add something different to their Thanksgiving table this year. I made homemade sweet potato ricotta gnocchi but there are so many packaged and frozen varieties of pumpkin, sweet potato, or butternut squash gnocchi, or tortellini in stores that you could use either one of them to save some time.
I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it.
Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi
By combining the sweet potatoes with ricotta, you retain the flavor and end up with pillowy soft gnocchi, just what gnocchi should be!
2 Pounds Sweet Potatoes
2/3 Cup Ricotta Cheese (Full Fat Is Best)
1 Large Egg Yolk
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Finely Ground Black Pepper
1 1/4 Cups All-purpose Flour (Approximate)
Browned Butter Sage Sauce Ingredients:
1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
20 Fresh Sage Leaves
Salt & Pepper- cinnamon and nutmeg
Freshly Grated Parmesan Or Pecorino Cheese, a dash of cinnamon, and some fried sage leaves.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Prick the potatoes with a sharp knife and place them on a baking sheet.
Bake until very tender, about 55 minutes to an hour.
Cool slightly, cut in half, and scoop out the pulp with a spoon.
Use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes into a bowl. (You should end up with approximately 2 cups of sweet potato pulp.)
Add the ricotta, egg yolk, and salt, and pepper and mix well.
Lightly flour a baking sheet and set it close to your work area.
Adding about 1/2 cup of flour at a time, add just enough to create a workable dough.
Take a fist-sized ball of the dough and roll it into a 1-inch roll on a lightly floured counter.
Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 1-inch pieces and set it aside on the floured baking sheet.
Cooks Note: you could get fancy and roll the piece of dough over the back tines of a fork to get the desired lines or leave it as is to look like little pillows.
Continue to work the rest of the dough in this same manner.
Refrigerate the gnocchi on the baking sheet until ready to cook.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In the meantime, place the butter in a small saucepan and allow it to foam.
Add the sage leaves and season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the butter is lightly browned, and keep warm.
I add a dash of nutmeg and some cinnamon to taste to the butter sauce.
Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water just until they rise to the surface.
Use a slotted spoon to remove them to a heated platter.
Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and gently toss to coat.
Serve immediately offering grated cheese at the table.
Roasted Acorn Squash
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove the tops of the squash and scoop out the seeds.
- Rub the insides of the pumpkins with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20- 30 minutes or just until tender to touch but not falling in.
- Scoop the gnocchi into the acorn squash shell and add some shredded gruyere cheese to the top.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven…dig in!!
Until my next post, make every day a celebration!
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