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Archive for the ‘M&M Favorites’ Category


Sweet Potato Gnocchi - Meatballs&MilkshakesThis may be the last pasta post for a little while, as I’m going to try to be a little healthier for as long as I can stand it. Sweet potatoes are a favorite around the apartment, and they make light and fluffy gnocchi with more depth of flavor than regular gnocchi. Combine them with some crisp sage and pecorino, and they become truly delicious little clouds.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

1 1/2 pound sweet potato (1 large sweet potato), pricked with a fork

8 ounce container of fresh ricotta, preferably local

3 ounces grated parmesan

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups flour

Roast the sweet potato in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or microwave on high for 4 minutes a side until soft. Let cool. Meanwhile, let the ricotta drain in a sieve or coffee filter for two hours to remove some of the extra liquid.

Scrape the flesh from the potato skin and mash, it should be about 2 cups. Add the ricotta and combine. Add the salt, brown sugar, nutmeg, and half the flour. Combine well. Add the rest of the flour in parts until the dough becomes a ball. You may not need it all.

Dump it onto a board and form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour up to a couple days.

Cut pieces off the ball and roll into ropes about a half inch thick with plenty of extra flour. Slice into inch long pieces. They can be kept in a single layer and frozen, store in some flour.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage and Pecorino

2 cups gnocchi, made as above (1 cup per person)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves

6-8 sage leaves

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Cook the gnocchi in heavily salted water for 2-3 minutes, until they aggressively float. Meanwhile, Saute the garlic in the olive oil on medium heat until it starts to brown. Remove the garlic and add the sage. Be careful, because they will pop a little at first due to the water content. Add the gnocchi along with a little pasta water and swirl to combine. Allow to cook for a minute together, and then off the heat, add the parmesan. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the top.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Baccala alla Vicentina - Meatballs&Milkshakes

This year’s Feast of the Seven Fishes is probably going to be reduced by a couple courses to maybe 5 or even just 3. The important part of the Feast is that it’s an odd number of courses. The most traditional of my courses is the baccala alla vicentina, which is one of my favorites. After a long soak in water, the rock-hard dried cod is magically transformed back into fish and then gets cooked with potatoes and blended into an amazing spread. It’s not pretty while it’s cooking and the whole process is pretty smelly, but it turns into an amazing dish.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Next up, bay scallop crudo with tangerine and sea salt and a bowl of shrimp bisque. The sweet bay scallops are slurped down with a tangerine juice reduction and some fruity extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt over the top. The bisque gets it’s flavor from sherry or marsala and if possible, homemade shrimp or seafood stock.

Spicy Crab Pasta - Meatballs&Milkshakes

I will most likely round out my Feast of the Seven (or Five) Fishes with some baked clams and a spicy crab pasta that has become a favorite. I’m hoping to get some really delicious dungeness or some other special crab to really take this one over the top for the holidays. Maybe I’ll even experiment with some lobster. Happy holidays!

For more Feast of the Seven Fishes ideas, check out last year’s menu.

And just to let you know, I’ve started a new Facebook page for Meatballs&Milkshakes, so you can follow the blog there! “Like” Meatballs&Milkshakes to keep up to date with recipes in your feed!

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Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

These tiny, sweet bay scallops are perfect as a quick bite to start a special meal. I paired them with a small glass of my shrimp bisque in this duo of seafood appetizers, and they were both among my favorites. The scallops have a tangerine juice reduction drizzled over the top, along with some wonderful extra virgin olive oil and some flakes of sea salt to create a rich, sweet and citrusy bite that still tastes of the sea (in a good way).

When you eat raw shellfish, I recommend only getting it from the most reputable source and checking to make sure they don’t smell overly fishy. They should have a firm texture to the touch, as well.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine

1/2 pound bay scallops, rinsed (this is roughly enough for 4 people, depending on how many you will serve)

1 cup tangerine juice

3 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

pinch of chili flakes (optional)

Reduce the tangerine juice to about half by simmering in a saucepan. It should become slightly thick and viscous. Once it has cooled, pour over the scallops along with the olive oil. Toss gently to coat and serve with a sprinkle of the flaked sea salt (and chili flakes, if using) over the top. I recommend tasting one to make sure you like the balance, as well.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Squash Ravioli with Crispy Sage - Meatballs&Milkshakes

I love making homemade ravioli because the process is so relaxing. It’s also fun to do with other people, and if you’re just getting into cooking, it’s very gratifying to see the final product that YOU made. It’s a time commitment, but you can make any kind of ravioli you feel like. I once made some with leftover short ribs braised in red wine that were memorable enough to remember years later. These might rival those for my favorite ravioli.

Delicata Squash Filling

1 pound delicata squash, large dice

1 cup grated fontina

1 cup grated pecorino

1 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup ground hazelnuts

4 tablespoons finely chopped sage

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3 tablespoons Marsala or white wine (optional)

Roast the squash with a couple tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until it starts to brown. Remove to a food processor  and add the rest of the ingredients. I use the Marsala or wine to thin it out if necessary. The honey gives it a slight sweetness, but you could tweak the filling ingredients to taste.

Make one recipe Basic Pasta Dough. Let it rest for a few minutes in plastic wrap in the fridge and then run it through your pasta roller in batches.

Basic Pasta Dough - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Brush the dough all over with water to help seal them. Spoon the filling into about 1 teaspoon-sized balls onto one side of the pasta sheet so that you will be able to fold them over.

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesSquash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesFold the dough over, making sure to seal in the filling and push out air bubbles. Make sure to press the dough down between the filling to make them closer to single-thickness so that the edges will cook at the same rate as the layer covering the filling. (If you do not do this, the edges will be twice as thick as the center, and will be chewy.)

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Cut the ravioli out with you ravioli cutter. You could also use a cookie cutter or knife if you don’t have one. I was finally able to use the new one I picked up in Rome.

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesSquash Ravioli - Meatballs&MilkshakesThey will keep in the fridge for a couple days, or preferably, in the freezer for a while. Make sure to coat them in flour or they will stick. I also recommend using parchment paper to separate layers, because any that touch will stick. They are best immediately after making them, however.

Squash Ravioli - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Delicata Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter and Crispy Sage

6-8 ravioli (per person)

6 sage leaves

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Cook the ravioli in salted, boiling water for about 4 minutes, until they start to float. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil and add the sage leaves. They will spatter when they hit the oil, so be careful. They will crisp up and the butter solids will start to brown. Add some of the pasta cooking water (about 1/4 cup) and allow to come together, about 1 minute. Add the ravioli and toss in the sauce. Grate some parmesan over the top and serve with the crispy sage on top.

Squash Ravioli with Crispy Sage - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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I found a recipe for avocado toast in a Bon Appetit cleanse a while ago, and it quickly became my favorite snack, breakfast, or lunch. I adjusted the recipe a little to balance the tartness of the lemon with some honey. Make sure to allow your avocados to ripen, they should be just a little pliable when you give them a squeeze.

Avocado Toast

1/2 avocado, mashed

1/2 lemon juiced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tasblespoon honey

1 pinch red pepper flakes

1 slice of bread, toasted

Combine the avocado, lemon, olive oil, honey and red pepper flakes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon on the toast and enjoy!

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I love heirloom cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market. They are so sweet and flavorful, and I love to make a big batch of these slow-roasted tomatoes and keep them in the fridge to toss in everything. They’re also fabulous on their own, just on a couple slices of toasted baguette. The olive oil mixes with the tomato juices, and it’s delicious.

Roasted Thyme Tomatoes

1 pint assorted heirloom cherry tomatoes (or whatever ones you can get)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 thyme springs

salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients, making sure to coat the thyme in oil. Roast at 350 degrees for an hour. Spoon over toasted baguette slices or use in other recipes!

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I haven’t made risotto in a while, and I had almost forgotten how wonderful it is. Risotto should be loose and a little runny, not a tight little ball when scooped onto a plate. I finished this one with a handful of grated cheese and a little butter to give it a richness. The term mantecare in Italian means to stir, and it’s usually used to refer to the process of quickly stirring in this finishing butter. By aggressively stirring, it emulsifies the butter and brings it all together.

Squash Blossom Risotto

6 squash blossoms, chopped

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 onion, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used a dark homemade chicken stock, but boxed or canned is fine)

1 cup white wine

1 cup grated parmesan

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Saute the onion and garlic in a tablespoon or two of olive oil until they have softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and toss in the oil to coat. Allow the rice to toast for a minute, until the outsides of the grains start to look translucent. Add the wine and stir. Warm the stock in a separate pan.

Slowly add the stock a ladle at a time, keeping enough liquid in the pan to continue the cooking process, but it shouldn’t be higher than the level of the rice. Cook at a medium heat and stir frequently with a spatula to let the rice emit it’s starches. Add the squash blossoms halfway through the stock. Cook until al dente, and you can use additional water if you run out of stock. It should be a little runny when done. Add the butter and stir vigorously to emulsify. Add the parmesan and olive oil and stir through.

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