Grill-Roasted Corn & Tomato Melange

The genius of this recipe is that the corn is roasted on the grill prior to shucking it. The corn is completely clean and fabulously roasted after 20 minutes. I can’t believe I’d never done this before! This method can actually be done in an oven as well. Fabulous.

We ate this dish as a side salad but it could also be used served over pasta, gnocchi, or with steamed green beans. The melange is prepared ahead of time so that the flavors blend and develop before serving. Perfect for guests! This dish is from Mad Hungry Family: 120 Essential Recipes to Feed the Whole Crew by Lucinda Scala Quinn. It’s a must try before the late summer corn is gone.

Yield: Makes enough sauce for 1 pound of pasta, gnocchi, or steamed green beans

  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped or 2 pounds grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • handful of basil leaves, torn or chiffonade
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 5 ears fresh sweet corn, in the husk
  1. Preheat a grill or oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, oil, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place the unshucked ears of corn on the grill (or in the oven) and roast for about 20 minutes (you’ll smell the aroma of sweet corn when they’re done).
  4. Let the corn cool in the husks. Remove the husks and cut the kernels off the cobs.
  5. Incorporate corn into the tomato mixture. Let flavors meld for up to several hours prior to serving. Use as desired.

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus, Peas, & Mushrooms

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Now that I am no longer too intimidated to make gnocchi, I can’t stop! This gnocchi dough doesn’t need to be kneaded or rolled; it is cut from a pastry bag into bite-sized pieces directly into the cooking water. Great! This recipe and technique were adapted from Chef Nemo Bolin at Cook & Brown Public House in Providence, RI, via Bon Appetit. A wonderful spring dish. I increased the amount of vegetables and plan to add even more next time. Luxurious comfort food! 🙂

I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday #13 at the Novice Gardener. Enjoy!!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 4 cups ricotta (32 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
  • 10 oz (or more if desired) sliced fresh mushrooms such as creminis, morels, shiitakes, or a combination
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 lb. pods) or frozen peas, thawed
  • ÂĽ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives, finely grated Parmesan, and finely grated lemon zest, for serving, optional

For the Gnocchi:

  1. Line a baking dish with 3 layers of paper towels; spoon ricotta onto paper towels and let sit 30 minutes (if the ricotta is too wet, the dough won’t hold together).
  2. Combine ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, and salt in a food processor; season with pepper and process until smooth.
  3. Add flour and pulse just to combine (mixture should be smooth and fairly wet).
  4. Transfer gnocchi mixture to a pastry bag fitted with ½” round tip or a large resealable plastic bag.
  • DO AHEAD: Gnocchi mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cover pastry tip and chill. (I did do this step a day in advance without any issues.)

For the Vegetables & Assembly:

  1. Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green and crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Using tongs or a mesh strainer, transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain. Slice asparagus on the diagonal into bite-size pieces, leaving tips intact.
  2. Reduce heat so water is simmering. If using a resealable plastic bag for gnocchi mixture, cut a ½” opening in bottom of bag. Working in 3 batches, pipe dough into pot, cutting off 1” lengths with a paring knife and letting dough drop into water. Cook until doubled in size, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to a lightly oiled baking sheet. (I used cooking spray.) Reserve ¼ cup cooking liquid.
  3. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add shallots and cook, tossing occasionally, until shallots and mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes; set aside.
  4. Add gnocchi, asparagus, peas, butter, and reserved cooking liquid to skillet with morels. Cook, tossing gently, until vegetables are warm and sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chives, Parmesan, and lemon zest.

One Year Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Whole Wheat Potato-Spinach Gnocchi with Kale-Walnut Pesto

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In the past, I have found making gnocchi to be a frustrating experience. I blame my previous difficulty on waterlogged potatoes… In this recipe, the potatoes are baked prior to ricing- no water involved- it worked perfectly!  The gnocchi were tender, soft, and pillowy. This dish was inspired by alamain.net. The recipe for gnocchi was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Grace Parisi. I modified it by adding spinach, using whole wheat flour, and dressing it with pesto. The pesto recipe was adapted from alamain.net. I used Tuscan Kale instead of Rainbow Kale, Grana Padano instead of Parmesan, and walnuts instead of pine nuts. I doubled the gnocchi recipe to freeze a batch for later. Green, healthy, and delicious!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Gnocchi:

  • 4 pounds russet potatoes (about 6) (enough to make 5 cups riced potatoes)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, or enough to achieve desired dough texture, plus more for dusting
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Kale-Walnut Pesto (recipe follows)
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork. Alternatively, bake the potatoes in the oven for about 1 hour, until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté the baby spinach in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. Using the potato ricer, squeeze out excess moisture from the spinach. Finely chop the drained spinach in a food processor.
  3. Halve the potatoes. Scoop the flesh into a ricer and rice the potatoes. IMG_8138 Transfer 5 slightly packed cups of riced potatoes to a bowl. Stir in the egg yolks, drained and chopped spinach, and 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Add the 1 to 1 1/2 cups of flour; stir until a stiff dough forms. Knead the dough gently until smooth but slightly sticky, adding more flour if necessary.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. On a floured surface, cut the dough into 16 pieces, rolling each into a 3/4-inch-thick rope. Cut the ropes into 3/4-inch pieces.
  5. With your thumb, roll each piece against the tines of a fork to make ridges (I dusted the gnocchi, fork, and my thumb with flour before rolling); transfer to the baking sheet.
  6. In a large pot of simmering salted water, cook the gnocchi in batches until they rise to the surface, then simmer for 2 minutes longer. Repeat as necessary. (Do not overcrowd!)
  7. Toss the gnocchi with pesto to cover, sprinkle with the cheese, and serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The uncooked gnocchi pieces can be frozen on the prepared baking sheet, transferred to a resealable plastic bag, and frozen for up to 1 month. Boil without defrosting. (I reserved half of the batch.)

For the Kale-Walnut Pesto

  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup Tuscan kale
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Grana Padano
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until paste consistency is reached. Store in an airtight container.

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One Year Ago:

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Spinach Gnocchi with Shaved Ricotta Salata

Spinach Gnocchi
When I saw this recipe in my Food and Wine magazine, I wanted to make it right away. The title of the column, “Best New Chef: Most Wanted Recipes”, made it hard to resist, and the picture of the finished VEGETARIAN dish was gorgeous. I bought all of the ingredients. Then I pulled up the recipe in my kitchen on FoodandWine.com and saw that the comments regarding this dish stated that the recipe was flawed and inaccurate. I had already been scarred in the past making waterlogged (gummy) potato gnocchi, and I didn’t want to put myself through another frustrating experience. However, despite the comments, my husband encouraged me to make this dish anyway- and I really wanted to try it. So I approached this recipe with trepidation.
The primary issue with the original recipe is that it calls for 2.5 pounds of fresh spinach- the comments on the Food and Wine website stated that this resulted in too much spinach puree, and dough that wouldn’t hold together. I decided that this was because 2.5 pounds of bagged spinach was used, and I was using 2.5 pounds of fresh spinach which when stemmed weighed 1 pound, 6 ounces. (I weighed it as I was being much more thorough than usual!) After blanching the spinach, I squeezed it dry in a potato ricer – my secret weapon. I didn’t want waterlogged gnocchi again! The end result was 1 1/2 cups of spinach puree– only 1 cup is used in the gnocchi. (I will just eat or reuse the leftover spinach puree -yum.) When I make this dish again in the future, I will use 2 pounds of fresh spinach (with stems).
Spinach Gnocchi
I was also apprehensive to alter the shape of each gnocchi for fear that they would disassemble. The dough is very sticky and wet– it is not rolled into a log, but scooped into a mound of flour. So, I kept my “scoops”- they looked like spinach meatballs. 🙂
spinach gnocchi
This gnocchi is very flavorful–  much more than a potato or ricotta gnocchi. They were very tender and delicious. Completely worth all of the stress. The use of three cheeses and brown butter give it a complex and FABULOUS taste. I know why this is a “Most Wanted Recipe”! This recipe was contributed to Food and Wine by Mark Vetri of Vetri Ristorante in Philadelphia. My adaptations are incorporated below. This dish would be a lovely -and fancy- appetizer as well.
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR
  • SERVINGS: 4 as a main dish, 6+ as an appetizer
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed (not bagged spinach)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese (1 ounce)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup plain, dry, fine bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and shaved ricotta salata, for serving
  1. Soak spinach to wash throughly. In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the spinach until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain with a bamboo strainer (spider) into a colander, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Cool the spinach by placing the colander into a large bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze dry. Squeezing out all excess water by using a potato ricer is a great method. Wipe out the pot, fill with water and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, transfer the spinach to a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid and puree until very smooth. You should have 1 cup of puree; add additional cooking liquid if needed.
  3. Scrape the spinach puree into a large bowl and mix in the grated Grana Padano cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in 1/4 cup of the flour to form a soft dough.
  4. Spread the remaining 1 cup of flour in a pie plate and dust a large rimmed baking sheet with flour. Place dough into the flour using a 1-inch ice cream scoop. Gently roll the gnocchi dough into 1-inch balls. Carefully roll the gnocchi in the flour, shake off the excess and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Add salt to the simmering water. Add half of the gnocchi to the pot and cook until they rise to the surface, then simmer until cooked through, about 3 minutes (about 5 minutes total cooking time). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to a platter. Cover loosely with foil. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
  6. In a skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Spoon the brown butter over the gnocchi. Top with Parmigiano and ricotta salata (I used a serrated peeler to “shave” it) and serve.

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