Sweet potato gnocchi are easy to make and wonderful to serve to vegetarian or vegan guests (or any other guest for that matter!)
2 sweet potatoes or yams
1/4 cup of pine nuts, roasted, chopped and set aside
3-4 leaves of fresh sage
3 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Bake sweet potatoes until soft. Let cool. Peel. Mix the potatoes with salt and pepper. Take your hands and shape the potatoes into oblong dumplings. You shouldn’t need any flour to bind (unlike the photo). Heat a pan with olive oil and sage. Let the gnocchi pan fry on both sides. Drizzle with fried sage and chopped, roasted pine nuts.
Writing about Capri today, I savor the thought of fresh cherry tomatoes with wild arugula, a signature summer dish with fruity extra-virgin olive oil.
But in February, I am in Colorado, and this winter salad strikes a cord. It has a European sensibility and taste for a winter’s want for something light and tasty.
This recipe came from my friend, Frank Stitt, perhaps my favorite American chef and southern gentleman. His restaurants Highlands Bar and Grill and Bottega, in Birmingham, Alabama are unbelievably good. His flavors, produce and know-how are completely authentic. I stepped into Bottega for the first time 8 years ago, ordered a fried oyster salad and fell in love. I said to the waiter, “Who is this man?!”
This recipe comes from Bottega Favoritia: A Southern Chef’s Love Affair With Italian Food.
TUSCAN EGG SALAD WITH YOUNG LETTUCES
A winter salad sure to please, as we look forward to the brightness of spring.
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb pancetta in one piece, unrolled and cut into lardoons (1/4 by 1/4 strip)
1 shallot finely chopped
8 very fresh organic eggs
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups of mixed young lettuces, such as frisee, arugula, young big and romaine
2-3 T of Sherry vinegar
4 slices of baguette
Warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it just begins to crisp and render it’s fat. Add the shallots and cook for one minute until softened.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs and season with sea salt an pepper. Pour the eggs into the sauté pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring until the eggs are just set, 2-3 minutes.
Combine the lettuces in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the vinaigrette and toss.
Add the warm eggs to the salad greens and toss lightly. Divide the “egg salad” among four plates and garnish with toasts.
Recommended wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Not all risotti (plural of risotto) are created equal. There are schools and rules of how you stir, when to put the broth in, what broth to use, what rice to use, etc.
Yet, in the end once you know the rules, it’s ok to improvise. Everyone loves the creaminess of a well-prepared risotto, with just the right amount of butter and parmigiano, slightly wet and still moving, as opposed to a blob of over-cooked rice made out to be something that it’s not. Then, there are risotti that have no dairy at all. They rely on the other subtle flavors to come through.A seafood risotto of course, has only the flavor of the sea, perhaps herbs and tomato.