February 26, 2015
This winter has definitely been a trial – record snowfall, below-freezing temperatures, and a groundhog that saw this shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. But around here, when life gives us snow, we just use it as an excuse to make something hearty, comforting, warm and delicious!
Even if it seems impossible, spring will be here before we know it, and we might as well get our cold-weather fare cravings now. So, just in time to beat the winter blues, here are six delicious recipes that will fill your belly and comfort your soul as you watch the snow fall on the ground and soon, hopefully, melt away.
Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi
There's nothing more delicious than a bowl of homemade pasta on a cold winter’s night, but the carbs and calories can add up (and skimpier clothing weather is not that far off), so we gave the traditional flour-heavy Italian gnocchi a twist with our healthy pumpkin version. It sticks to your bones, but it also has a boost of vitamins – especially Vitamin A - from the pumpkin. Baking the pumpkin instead of boiling it ensures you don't have any excess water and the gnocchi is plump and firm.
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Sautéed Sea Bass Over Creamy Polenta
A beautiful sea bass steak deserve the royal treatment, so our simple salt-and-sugar brine and a quick sauté with fine olive oil is all this great piece of fish needs to let the flavor shine. To match all that healthy protein with a filling companion, we served it over polenta, but mixed it with a generous serving of cream cheese to make it extra decadent and creamy. A recipe versatile enough to serve as a healthy weeknight meal, or a sophisticated dinner party dish.
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Mascarpone Portobello Mushrooms
You can find mushrooms at the supermarket at almost any time of year, and we especially love how Portobello mushroom caps are the perfect size and shape to be vessels for almost any stuffing. In this case, we mixed up a delicious tapenade-style mix of olives, anchovies and herbs, and blended it with creamy Mascarpone cheese. We took the mix the, stuffed the mushrooms sprinkled it with melt-able Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (you can use Grana Padano, Fiore Sardo, or pretty much any hard cheese that has great melting qualities) and gave it a quick turn on the oven grill. Couldn’t be easier, and the results were incredibly delicious. You can serve these as an appetizer, or a side dish.
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Manchego and Serrano Croquettes
We become pretty “pasta-dependent” during the winter, but Bolognese and Pesto notwithstanding, we get bored with pasta sauces fairly quickly. Sometimes you need something a bit heartier to pair with your linguini and penne, capisce? We were inspired by two of Spain's greatest culinary treasures to create these modified meatballs: Manchego cheese and Serrano ham. Salty and flavorful Serrano is paired with buttery sheep’s milk Manchego and cooked in a white wine and broth sauce. Served on top of a bowl of pasta, it will warm you up most deliciously.
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Mushroom Truffle Risotto And Parmigiano Crackers
We love drizzling the aromatic liquid on anything and everything. The heady flavor can transform any dish from simple to sophisticated with almost no work, and it pairs especially well with Italian Risotto. This is already a wonderful dish, but when you pair it with luxurious truffle oil, it takes the dish to a whole new level. Our chefs also taught us how to make ridiculously easy and yet so impressively elegant Parmigiano "crackers" by melting spoonfuls of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on a pan: cook on both sides until golden and then left to harden, they become a delicious garnish (and really, so easy!).
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The less-known cousin to the fondue, the word raclette is used for the name of the dish, the equipment used to make it with, and the cheese used. This classic ski resort recipe involves lots of gooey melted cheese, crusty bread, mouthwatering meats and hearty potatoes (pretty much you can use whatever is in your fridge and pantry for this). It's fun, it's delicious, and it’s a great excuse to get your friends together with some great wine on a cold winter’s night.
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