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Roasted Beet Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce & Toasted Walnuts

This is only the second time I have ever made gnocchi. The first attempt was at Christmas a few years ago. My sister and I were trying to recreate the gnocchi we devoured at The Spotted Pig in NYC. It wasn’t successful. But I’ve been watching, researching and getting a better grasp on the art of making gnocchi since that disaster. The secret: don’t overwork the dough and start with room temperature ingredients.

This dish is a show stopper and a total make-ahead meal. It’s absolutely stunning with the magenta morsels nestled in the creamy sea of white. I served this for a girl’s dinner on a weeknight and all of the pieces were made days before. The gnocchi were prepared a week before and popped in the freezer (thaw the day of in the refrigerator). The cream sauce was made 2 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator and reheated. Assembly was quick. Impress your people. Feed them this.


For the gnocchi:

  • 3 small red beets, roasted and pureed
  • 1 pound whole milk fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup flour

For the cream sauce:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 12 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

For the garnishes:

  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 10 fresh basil leaves – chiffonade (long thin strips)
  • Parmesan Cheese – for garnish
  • Gorgonzola crumbles – for garnish


To roast beets: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse and dry beets. On a large sheet of foil, drizzle beats with olive oil & season with salt. Fold into foil pouch (or bake in a baking dish covered with foil) and bake for 30min -1 hour, depending on the size of the beets. They should be fork tender. Place into food processor and puree. Set aside.

To make the gnocchi: Place beet puree in a large bowl. Stir in ricotta, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix in 1 cup of the flour. (Dough can be made one day ahead, cover and refrigerate).

Sprinkle some flour on your countertop or board. Take a handful of the “dough” and place on counter or board. Lightly shape & roll the dough into a log. Cut into 1-inch pieces and shape into balls. Then transfer to baking sheet. Do this in batches. (Gnocchi can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate). Be careful to not overwork the dough – this will make it tough.

To make the sauce: In a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in flour to create a roux and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add in milk, whisking to keep lumps from forming. Continue to stir while sauce starts to thicken. Once the sauce has thickened and will coat the back of a spoon, blend in crumbled Gorgonzola and Parmesan until the cheese has melted. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Preheat the broiler. Working in batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of simmering salted water until gnocchi float to the surface, about 3-4 minutes (depending on the size of the gnocchi). Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to the skillet with cream sauce.

Place skillet under the broiler until the cheese sauce has started to brown. Remove from oven and top gnocchi with toasted walnuts, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese & Gorgonzola crumbles. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve!

Vegetable Thai Red Curry

I do love a spicy curry on a cold night and this one couldn’t be easier. I decided to go vegetarian as I served this with grilled steaks (marinated in soy, pineapple juice & garlic). You can use any combination of vegetables and throw in some chicken if you want a one-pot meal.

This was inspired by a red curry I recently had in Montreal at ChuChai that was so aromatic with kaffir lime leaves. What a pity that “no one has them” in Dallas. I will order them online so this tragedy doesn’t replay. If you are lucky enough to have a stash of these lime leaves – omit the lime juice and use a lime leaf when simmering.


  • 1 14oz. can of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Thai red curry paste (I like Mae Ploy Thai Red Curry Paste)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded & cut into wedges
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 4 ounces crimini mushrooms
  • 2 cups fresh green beans
  • 3/4 cup bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1 small can pineapple chunks, drained
  • Juice of one lime
  • Handful of Thai basil leaves


Do not shake the can of coconut milk. Open the can and skim off the “cream” on top (roughly the top 1/3 of the can) and add it to a Dutch oven or large pan.

The first step is to “fry” the curry paste in the coconut cream. Add the paste to the coconut cream in the pan, stir and cook this over medium heat until the oils separate from the paste (about 5 minutes). Slowly, it will begin to cook down into a thick paste, then finally the aromatic oils will begin to separate from the paste. After you see the oil, add the chopped onion and cook the onion for about 1 minute.

Add the remainder of the can of coconut milk. Bring this to a boil then lower to a simmer. Add fish sauce and palm sugar and stir to combine. Add vegetables (except tomatoes) and cover the pot and simmer gently for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. I the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, add tomato wedges. When finished cooking, stir in the lime juice. Stir in a big handful of Thai basil leaves that are torn in half.

Serve with rice.

Vegetable and Hummus Pizza with Greek Vinaigrette

The one thing I always have in the refrigerator: hummus. I love it with pretzels and it’s usually a snack that can be devoured quickly. As much as I love it I do get tired of it after several days of walk by dipping. I was at my favorite Mediterranean market in Dallas, World Foods, buying my stock of olives and feta and checking out the baked goods swimming in honey. I noticed a big pile of fresh whole wheat Naan* and this pizza was born.

I have to say it was everything I thought it would be. Don’t skip the vinaigrette drizzle over top and on the veggies. The acid from the vinegar is a perfect compliment to the creamy hummus.

*Naan is an Indian flatbread and is thinner than most pita. Pita would also work fine in this recipe – use what you can find!


  • 1 Indian Naan or pita
  • 2 tablespoons hummus (any flavor)
  • 6 Kalamata olives, pitted and cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 slices lengthwise
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, cut into medium squares
  • 1 ounce Feta, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon toasted pine nuts

For the vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon Greek oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


For the vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid, then add the oil and shake to mix well. Add 2-3 tablespoons to a medium bowl to toss the veggies in.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place Naan or Pita directly on rack and bake for 5-10 minutes until bread is crispy. It will not be baked again, so make sure to get the crunch you desire. I like mine crispy so I bake it closer to 10 minutes.

Heat medium skillet and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season zucchini with salt and pepper and cook for 1-2-minutes on each side, until al dente. Remove and add to bowl with dressing.

Add bell peppers to the same pan and cook until slightly charred. Toss in the same bowl with the dressing and zucchini.

To assemble pizza: Spread hummus on to cooled crust. Layer zucchini in a single layer over the hummus. Sprinkle bell peppers, olives and feta over zucchini. Top with toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of the vinaigrette.

Polenta with Swiss Chard & Roasted Tomatoes

After many years of mistakes and some dead plants, I have finally grown a green thumb. I’ve been really lucky with a great herb garden but this year I’ve decided to try my hand at some new edibles. My rainbow swiss chard and leeks are growing like mad so the chard was my first harvest. Preparing organic, fresher than fresh and inexpensive vegetables from my backyard was pretty damn satisfying. And tasty.

This vegetarian recipe is from The Food Network magazine. I made a few modifications and additions – but was really impressed with the hearty flavors overall.


  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup Half & Half
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard (about 2 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta, crumbled
  • 8 large basil leaves, chopped


Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350. Toss the tomatoes, garlic, balsamic, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large ovenproof skillet. Roast in the oven until the tomatoes are charred around the edges, about 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 but keep the tomatoes inside.

Meanwhile, bring 5 cups water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the polenta until smooth and creamy. Add 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste and the cream. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Slice the chard leaves into wide strips and the stems into 1-inch pieces. Boil the stems until almost tender, about 5 minutes, then add the leaves and cook until both are tender, about 3 more minutes. Drain the chard.

Remove the skillet from the oven and place over medium-high heat. Push the tomatoes to one side, add the butter and swirl until the butter is golden brown. Add the chard and toss to coat. Divide the polenta among 4 bowls. Top with the tomatoes and chard. Season the cheese with salt and sprinkle over the top.

Cherry Tomato and Feta Tart

Recently I borrowed a friends State Fair of Texas cookbook full of winning recipes… one of which belongs to her husband. He is a proud blue ribbon winner for the best lasagna I’ve had in my entire life. This recipe book is full of innovative recipes and a tomato pie that called for bouillon caught my eye. What a strange ingredient! I can’t say it wouldn’t be just as delicious without the bouillon… but I believe it won her the blue ribbon.

It appears some things are just meant to be. I had cherry tomatoes that weren’t going to make it another week, basil that was developing brown spots, a disc of pie dough in the freezer and a nice hunk of feta leftover from last weeks Pistachio Crusted Chicken. It was delicious and would be perfect alongside Baked Shrimp Scampi for a simple and impressive make ahead dinner party menu!


For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into pea size pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For the inside:

  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • 5 large basil leaves, cut into long, thin strips
  • 1 Star garlic and herb bouillon cube, or chicken bouillon*
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pie crust recipe above or a store bought pie dough
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups Mozzarella, shredded


For the crust: In the bowl of a food processor combine the butter, flour and salt. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the mixture looks like finely grated cheese. Add half of the ice water and pulse again. The mixture should start to come together to form a rough ball; if it still seems dry add the remaining water and pulse until it has formed a rough ball. Remove the mixture from the food processor to a clean work surface and form it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This can be done a few days in advance.

Toss tomatoes, basil & green onions with the bouillon and olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator and drain off any liquid that has developed from the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove dough from the refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before using to allow it to soften up a bit. Dust the dough and a work surface with flour. Roll out dough into a 10-inch tart shell and prick the bottom with a fork.

Spread 1/2 of the tomatoes into the bottom of the pie shell and top with 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat. Drizzle the top with a small amount of olive oil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes on the middle oven rack.

*The STAR herb & garlic bouillon can be found at Jimmy’s Food Store for less than $2. I keep it on hand and use it when cooking rice and pasta. Chicken bouillon can also be used in this recipe.

Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Ravioli in Pineapple Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Making ravioli is easy when you don’t have to make the pasta. These beautiful little pillows are savory, delightfully sweet and very easy to make thanks to premade wonton wrappers.

I used Pineapple Sage as I had a ton of it in my garden and I had no idea what to do with it… but regular fresh sage will be just as wonderful.

Your efforts will not go without reward (these freeze VERY well and make about 4 dozen)… well worth the time to make them… and enjoy for a few months.

I served the ravioli as a side with an apple cider brined pork chop finished with a shallot cider pan sauce (recipe to come soon and may be the best thing I’ve come up with on the spot). These beauties would also be very impressive as an appetizer for the holidays.

Note: Wonton wrappers are found in the freezer section of most grocery stores.


  • 1 small to medium acorn squash (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 sweet potato or yam
  • 1 tablespoons dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup crème fraiche (substitute: cream cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package round Wonton Wrappers (usually found in the freezer section)
  • Flour, for dusting board
  • 4 tablespoons sweet butter
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, for grating


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a roasting pan. Scrub outside of sweet potato, pierce with fork in several places and place on roasting pan with acorn squash. Cook in the oven until very soft, about 1 hour.

Let cool to room temperature and scoop out flesh into a large mixing bowl. Mash with sweet potato until well combined.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it begins to brown. Immediately remove from heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon molasses and all the vinegar. Add to squash and sweet potato with crème fraiche, Parmesan, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and mix well. The recipe can be made ahead to this point. Cover well and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.

To fill the raviolis: Put 1 tablespoon squash filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Leave a 1/2-inch border all around the filling. Moisten borders with water and fold in half. Press all the air out and seal firmly by pressing all around with fingertips. Lay raviolis out to dry on a lightly floured board or baking sheet and lightly flour the tops. Repeat until you run out of wrappers and/or filling.

To cook, boil in lightly salted water until tender, about 3 minutes. Reserve 2 ounces of the cooking water.

Uncooked, filled raviolis may be used immediately or frozen for 2 months. Lay them out on sheet pans and place in freezer until frozen. Transfer to plastic bag.

For the Sage Brown Butter: While raviolis are cooking, in a large saute pan, melt the butter with the sage and a pinch of salt until it foams and becomes light brown. Reserve.

On medium heat toss the cooked raviolis in the sage butter then transfer to a serving platter or dishes. Finish with a generous grating of Parmesan cheese.