Daily Archives: November 14, 2020

Butternut Squash with Roasted Garlic and Spinach

This one-sheet-pan side dish comes together in a snap. You can use pre-cut butternut squash and bagged, clean baby spinach to make it even easier! I do like freshly-cut butternut squash, so here are my tips: choose a squash with a long, wide neck and narrow, small bottom. Use a heavy and very sharp knife to cut the neck and base in two pieces, and then use the knife to cut off the skin. You can then cut the neck into a one-inch dice, and then cut the base into half, cut away the skin and scoop out the seeds to continue to cut it into one-inch cubes. I like to use a spring-loaded scoop to scrape out the seeds, it gets down deep and the seed release quickly. After the muscle work, all you have to do is put it on a sheet pan!

Butternut Squash with Roasted Garlic and Spinach

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 whole butternut squash, about 1 1/2 pounds, cut into a one-inch dice, or a pound of fresh packaged diced butternut squash

5 cloves of garlic, skins removed

1 bunch of fresh spinach, washed and chopped, or one 12-ounce bag of washed baby lettuce

Good quality olive oil, kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the cut butternut squash on the sheet pan and drizzle with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Toss together and distribute evenly around the sheet pan.

Place the garlic cloves on a small sheet of aluminum foil, about 3-inches by 3 inches. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic up in the aluminum foil like an envelope, bringing the sides in and the top over. Place the aluminum packet on the sheet pan with the butternut squash. Place the sheet pan in the oven and roast for about 35-40 minutes, turning the butternut squash halfway through with a spatula and checking the garlic packet. If the garlic packet turns golden brown before the butternut squash does, remove it from the oven (this could depend on the size of your garlic cloves.)

When the butternut squash is evenly browned and the garlic is soft and golden, remove the sheet pan. Take the garlic out of the packet and place on a cutting board. Quickly chop the garlic and put it on the sheet pan with the butternut squash. Put the spinach on the hot sheet pan, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and turn it with the butternut squash using a spatula until the spinach has wilted. The heat of the sheet pan should be sufficient to wilt the spinach, but if not, place it in the oven again for a minute. Serve warm.  

Italian Wedding Soup with Italian Chicken Sausage Meatballs

My family loves a hearty, soulful supper- soup on chilly fall and winter evenings, and this is one of our favorites. It’s named for it’s perfect marriage of flavors, packed with herbs, greens, and satisfying meatballs. I made it first inspired by Ina Garten’s recipe, which is amazing! But I started to have fun making it with more vegetables and herbs, leaving out the dairy and gluten, and making my own sweet Italian chicken sausage instead of adding in one from the deli case. You could add in small pasta (gluten free if that’s how you roll) that you’ve cooked in advance to the pot in the last minute of cooking and top with with a generous heap of cheese (if that’s your thing!) You could switch out the greens, throw in some basil, use ground turkey. This soup has plenty of ways to make it your own marriage of deliciousness. For the brightest, freshest flavor, stir in the dill at the very last minute.

Italian Wedding Soup with Italian Chicken Sausage Meatballs

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for the meatballs:

2 garlic cloves

8 fresh basil leaves

3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, removed from stems

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

A pinch of red chile flakes

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

1 pound ground chicken

1 egg, whisked

Ingredients for the soup:

About a tablespoon of best quality olive oil

1 cup of sliced carrots

1 cup of sliced celery

1 cup of diced fennel root

1 cup of diced white or yellow onions

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 bunch of red, Swiss or rainbow chard, leaves stripped from the stem and roughly chopped, stems chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/ 2 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes, broken up into pieces, or diced tomatoes

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

6 cups of best quality chicken stock

1/4 cup of chopped fresh dill

Optional add ins: Small pasta, like orzo or pastina, cooked al dente and freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 Instructions for the meatballs:

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put the garlic, basil, parsley, fennel seeds and chile flakes in the bowl of a food processor, mini processor or bullet, and pulse until very fine. Put the ground chicken into a large bowl and add the herb and spice mixture, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, then mix thoroughly to combine. Using a 1-ounce scoop, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 20 meatballs. They don’t have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 25- 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

While the meatballs cook, prepare the soup: heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the carrots, celery, fennel, onion, garlic, and chard leaves and stems and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the mixture with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add the wine, tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Reduce the wine and tomatoes, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook the soup until the carrots and celery are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the meatballs (and small, cooked pasta, if adding) to the soup and simmer for 1 minute to heat all of the way through. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if more is needed. Turn off the heat and add in the fresh dill. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

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