Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Rosemary Parmesan Cream Sauce

Thanksgiving week is here!

Since I know my workouts might be lighter towards the end of the week, I hit the studio I teach at extra early for a solo Monday morning workout before I got the rest of my day started.  I love starting the day with a good workout.  Today I actually have fun plans – lunch with a college friend that now lives in Texas.  She’s here visiting family and I’m thrilled we were able to sneak in a little lunch date.  Post-lunch, I’m off to Trader Joe’s to do my Thanksgiving grocery haul so that I can get started on turkey day prep.

I had plans to share some cookies with you today but I just can’t keep last night’s dinner from you.  It was that good.  And I quote, “this is in the top 5 fall dinners ever” – Big Guy.  Yes, it was that good.

We used some of our homegrown sweet potatoes to make sweet potato gnocchi that was then tossed with the richest, most delicious rosemary parmesan cream sauce.  Gnocchi isn’t all that hard to make – it’s a simple mixed of cooked sweet potato (I used the microwave to cook and then riced them), ricotta, an egg, flour and salt.  That’s it!  Mix and then roll into “ropes” that you then cut into bite size pieces.  The gnocchi cooks in boiling water and they tell you when they’re done by floating to the top.  The sauce was made by browning butter and then adding in rosemary, cream, freshly grated parm, freshly grated nutmeg, a little but of cayenne, and some salt and pepper.

ricottagnocchi

I can’t even describe this deliciousness.  The gnocchi are tender and a little sweet and the parmesan cheese sauce is perfection.  I loved the hint of heat from the cayenne.

I’m trying to figure out when I can make this dinner again – I’m thinking when my parents come to visit sometime in the near future.  My dad would LOVE this meal.

And since I teased you with a promise of a cookie recipe, I’ll be back tomorrow with that!

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Cider Cheese Soup in Pretzel Bread Bowls

Hey, friends!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Ours was wonderful but went by way too fast.  Doesn’t that always happen, though?  Good news:  I have lots of food to share with you this week.  But first, CHEESE.

So no one felt the need to give me a heads up on National Cheese Day last week.  I was bummed that I was unable to celebrate but we made up for it yesterday with lots of cheese.  The soup is similar to beer cheese soup that is popular in pubs but instead of beer, apple cider is used.  We used an Angry Orchard hard apple cider – the alcohol cooks out but you could totally use a non-alcoholic apple cider and it would be equally delicious.  The soup was served in homemade pretzel bread bowls.  Bread bowls have been on our “kitchen bucket list” for a couple of years now and I’m not sure why it took us so long to check it off the list.

cheesesoup

The soup starts with crisping up some bacon and then cooking onions and garlic in the bacon fat until softened and translucent.  Butter and flour are used to thicken the soup and then the cider is added and cooked until slightly thick and the alcohol is cooked out.  Add in the half and half for the ultimately richness and then comes the cheese.  The recipe called for cheddar and colby jack – if I were to make this soup again I might use a monterey jack for a little heat.  I felt like it was missing that.  The crisped bacon is added and then serve in the bread bowls.  We topped our soup with a little bacon, fried sage (!!!) and some chives for freshness.

The ultimate comfort food = cheese + carbs and that’s just what this dinner is all about.