Do I have a treat for all of you today! Not only am I sharing two absolutely delicious recipes, but my sister has deemed this to be her "new favorite meal." Both of these dishes would make a great menu for a low-pressure dinner party since the gnocchi can be made in advance and the pork is relatively low-maintenance. The gnocchi is soft, warm, sweet, and pillowy (although my lesson learned is to use half of the butter the recipe called for since the gnocchi has plenty of moisture on its own). The pork is salty and moist and works very well with the sweetness of the soft onions and the crunchy texture of the green beans. And if you aren't having a dinner party both the pork and the gnocchi make wonderful leftovers.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
From: Bon Appétit - December 2005
2, 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with fork
1, 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hours
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 3/4 cups (about) all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (MM Note: The gnocchi are so light and airy I felt this was actually too much oil. Next time I make the dish I plan to cut the amount of butter in half.)
6 tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish
- Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sweet potatoes on plate; microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Cut in half and cool.
- Scrape sweet potato flesh into medium bowl and mash; transfer 3 cups to large bowl. Add ricotta cheese; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface; divide into 6 equal pieces. Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. Cut each rope into 20 pieces. Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent. Transfer to baking sheet.
- Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Add chopped sage (mixture will bubble up). Turn off heat. Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.
- Transfer half of sage butter to large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half of gnocchi. Sauté until gnocchi are heated through, about 6 minutes. Empty skillet onto rimmed baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining sage butter and gnocchi.
- Divide gnocchi and sauce among shallow bowls. Garnish with sage leaves.
Sweet and Salty Pork Rib Roasts by Jean-Georges Vongerichten
MM Note: Food & Wine also listed a spicy broth to serve with this dish. Since I felt there were plenty of flavors going on, we served the pork without this added step.
1 quart water
1 cups soy sauce (MM Note: Modified from 2 cups; Recommend to use low-sodium due to adding salt)
1/2 cup pure Grade B maple syrup (MM Note: Modified from 1 cup)
1/8 cup kosher salt (MM Note: Modified from 1/4 cup)
Two 5-bone pork rib roasts, about 4 pounds each (MM Note: I used boneless pork tenderloins, which worked perfectly!)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large head of garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
1 fresh red Thai chile with seeds, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound thin green beans
- Prepare the Pork: In a large nonreactive pot, mix the water with the soy sauce, maple syrup and salt, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the pork rib roasts and refrigerate for 2 hours. Light a grill. Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry. Grill over medium heat, turning several times, until lightly charred all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pork to a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 50-60 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150° when inserted into the thickest part of the meat. Transfer the pork to a carving board to rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the onions: In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic and chile, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened but not browned, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Stir the green beans into the onions. Cover and cook over moderate heat until warmed through.
- Transfer the green beans and onions to a platter. Using a sharp carving knife, slice the roasts from the racks, using the bones as a guide. Carve the deboned roasts 1 inch thick and arrange on top of the onions.