Tis the Season for Beta Carotene!
Monday, October 08, 2012
I've been eating all sorts of orange foods today! In addition to my latest addiction of Danielle's Crunchy Pumpkin Chips (I've been eating a bag a day!) I have eaten so many orange foods today I fully expect to begin changing color.
In addition to the lovely ginger carrot soup my husband made to make me cease in my complaints about unseasonably the cold weather I also made butternut squash and sweet potato gnocchi which I served with pumpkin pasta sauce I found a World Market for dinner. Both were so yummy I just HAVE to share the recipes!
For the soup....
Ginger Carrot Soup
- 2 tablespoons sweet cream butter
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup whipping cream
- Salt and White Pepper
- Sour Cream
- Parsley springs for garnish
In a 6-quart pan, over medium high heat, add butter and onions and cook, stirring often, until onions are limp. Add broth, carrots, and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced.
Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Don't fill the blender more than half way, do it in batches if you have to. Cover the blender and then hold a kitchen towel over the top of the blender*. Be careful when blending hot liquids as the mixture can spurt out of the blender. Pulse the blender to start it and then puree until smooth. Return to the pan and add cream, stir over high heat until hot. For a smoother flavor bring soup to a boil, add salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with dollop sour cream and parsley sprigs.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a food processor or blender and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Gnocchi
(I honestly didn't really have a recipe for this. I used an old recipe for potato gnocchi and subbed the squash sweet potato mix for plain white potatoes.)
- 1 large butternut squash, quartered & scooped of seeds
- 2 large sweet potatoes, washed and pierced
- 3 to 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon gray salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup flour, plus more for dusting board and dough
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 425
Spread olive oil over quartered butternut squash and bake for 1 hour. Let sit until cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh.
Wrap pierced potatoes in plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh.
Pass the potatoes & squash through a potato ricer or mash. Make a mound on the counter with a well in the middle, add 3 of the egg yolks, the cheese, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Mix into the potatoes and squash and mix well with hands. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the flour over the potatoes and squash and, using your knuckles, press it into the potatoes and squash. Fold the mass over on itself and press down again. Sprinkle on more flour, little by little, folding and pressing the dough until it just holds together, (try not to knead it.) Work any dough clinging to your fingers back into the dough. If the mixture is too dry, add another egg yolk or a little water. The dough should give under slight pressure. It will feel firm but yielding. To test if the dough is the correct consistency, take a piece and roll it with your hands on a well-floured board into a rope 1/2-inch in diameter. If the dough holds together, it is ready. If not, add more flour, fold and press the dough several more times, and test again.
Keeping your work surface and the dough lightly floured, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Lightly flour the gnocchi as you cut them. You can cook these as is or form them into the classic gnocchi shape with the tines of a large fork turned upside down. The indentation holds the sauce and helps gnocchi cook faster.
As you shape the gnocchi, dust them lightly with flour and scatter them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or waxed paper.
When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Drop in the gnocchi and cook for about 90 seconds from the time they rise to the surface. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a skimmer, shake off the excess water.