Zucchine Sono Arrivate! Ricetta 2

The zucchine elf - Zia Vittoria!
The zucchine elf – Zia Vittoria!

 

Everyday it seems there is a mysterious bag, basket or pile of zucchini (zucchine in Italian) by my door.  These things must multiply like…..   Wait – you already heard this!  Remember recipe 1!

Thank you subscriber Karen T. for reminding me about the vegetarian lasagna of my earlier life.  Le zucchine, grilled, becomes the best lasagna noodle. I don’t have a griddle – only a big frying pan.  First step slice the zucchine long ways – of course I ignore all the safety cutting rules I learned in 4-H and to make the thin slice pull that knife right towards my chest – don’t do that.

Tossed some of our heavenly local EVOO in the frying pan and after what felt like I had been standing on my feet for hours – enough were done.

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Since the oil was still hot I sliced up due melanzane – egg plant – and did those too. Note that I did them after I did the zucchine. Jack lumps eggplant with tofu as the two things that give him the food creeps.  God forbid una melanzana touch the zucchine!

For filling I dumped 500 grams of ricotta in a bowl, tossed in a egg, a bunch of grated parmesan, splash of pepper, fresh basil and oregano.  Stirred it up and called it art.

Stupidly, I had oiled my baking dish, then looked at the zucchine which had been essentially slathered in oil, grabbed a paper towel and wiped out the dish. Next, I laid down a layer of zucchine and with panache glopped and spread the ricotta mixture.

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My burnt fingers reminded me that  I had just roasted red peppers and had an ah ha moment.

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I added a layer of red pepper for color.  OK, time for a layer of mozzarella – shit we don’t have any.  Some days you win and some days you just have fun.

Creative a pinch of this and dash of that cooks use what they have.  I had great local cheese – cows milk integrated with hot peppers.

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Remembering that it melted well on a panino, I grated it up.  Tossed it on top of the red peppers and then added a second layer of zucchine slices.

Followed that with the requisite ricotta mixture and thought – I need another red layer to artistically balance the red peppers.  Hey, we bought super Spanish salame at the salumeria – I don’t think it was from Spain but they call it Spanish. The salame is crusted in black pepper.  OK, so this isn’t a vegetarian dish – but you don’t have to use salame.

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A layer of that, more ricotta, grated cheese and then – shit – I don’t have enough zucchine for a complete top layer. How could that be, I have bushels of zucchine?  Oh, yeah, I got tired of standing by the frying pan.

Thinking quickly, I eyed the eggplant, if I put some in the middle and cut Jack’s slice from the edge would he know that his precious zucchine might have egg plant kooties?  I just won’t mention it and use tons of grated cheese on top to disguise the critters.

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Rats, can see the eggplant – but will Jack?

Applause! Buon appetito, Jack. (Wink, Wink)

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Makin’ Gnocchi – Great Way To Keep The Kids Busy!

What’s a woman to do when the farmer down the road keeps dropping off pumpkins?

English: Pumpkins

I know what your thinking – It’s December and Thanksgiving is long over.  Why the devil are you getting pumpkins?  I made the mistake of mentioning that I put left over Thanksgiving pumpkins to use by baking them, cleaning and gutting them and freezing the pumpkin to make soup, pie, pumpkin gnocchi etc.  In the friendly world of farm country that means – hey, the chick down the street will take all your left over pumpkins!  As my friend Jonathan said to me, “when life gives you a shitload of lemons – make lemonade.”  Well, the pumpkins were multiplying and I decided to make pumpkin gnocchi!

Christmas is right around the corner so why not be a little daring – make pumpkin gnocchi for your primo piatto.  No one will expect it.

Gnocchi, ready to be cooked.
Gnocchi, ready to be cooked. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I must tell you – after the grandkiddies go gaga from staring at electronic toys you can save the day by playing makin’ gnocchi  – otherwise known as rolling and slicing snakes!  Jack, a member of my extended family, came over one day and it was too cold to play outside.  What saved the day?  Makin’ gnocchi!  His mom was our videographer – enjoy!

I don’t really have a tested recipe.  Cooking in my house is like great improvised theater.  So here is about what we did:

Cooked up a pumpkin.  Got rid of the seeds.  Sliced it and mashed up about a 1/2 cup.

Peeled and cooked potatoes and mashed up about 1 cup.

Mixed the potatoes and pumpkins together really well and tossed in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Then we added about  1 1/2 cups of flour – enough flour to make it look like a dough.

We took handfuls of dough and made snakes.  Cut the snakes into 1 inch pieces and put them on a linen towel to dry.  You can score them with the tine of a fork if you want to be cutesy.

A big pot of salted water was put on the stove.  When it was boiling I dumped in the gnocchi.  They sunk.  When they floated to the top they were done.  How simple is this!

The sauce was just melted butter, sage and chopped pumpkin – with the necessary salt, pepper and more grated parm!

Buon Appetito!  

Enjoy the kids – play Makin’ Gnocchi!