Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding

Of course I had to go and bastardize a perfect Italian dish.

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

But how else would I celebrate the fact that at the very moment you’re reading this I’ll be arriving in Florence and heading up to the beautiful villa that we’ll be calling our home for the next five days? To me, there’s no better way to kick off our Italian vacation.


And let me tell you, this Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding is so delicious that you won’t even mind that it strays quite a bit from the traditional dish. In fact, there really aren’t any similar techniques between the two, I simply took all of the ingredients you’d use for Eggplant Parmesan and, instead of drenching the eggplant in breadcrumbs, I decided to nestle it in huge chunks of crusty bread along with the other typical ingredients you use like tomatoes, basil and, of course, mozzarella cheese!

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

But can we talk a minute about where I am right now and where I’ll be going over the next week and a half? Because I’m desperately looking for the best places to eat, shop and sightsee during our trip.

We’re spending our first five days in Tuscany, hopping around quite a bit to places like Florence, Montepulciano and Greve in Chianti. After that, we’ll take the train out to Venice and spend another few days there before flying home. I’ve been to all of these places before and have found a few hidden gems, but I’m always looking for more, so please, please, please send any suggestions my way if you have them. It’s my in-laws’ and hubby’s first time to Italy so naturally I want to show them THE most amazing time.

Oh yea, that’s right. This trip isn’t just the hubs and I. We’re dragging along BOTH of our parents and my aunt. My aunt and I took a similar trip (staying at the same villa in Tuscany) a few years ago, and I’ve wanted to take the parents back ever since. Fun fact: Chris and I even talked about eloping and getting married at this very villa! In the end, we couldn’t bring ourselves to exclude some of our nearest and dearest (which we would inevitably have to do with an international wedding) so you can imagine how excited I am to bring everyone that’s so special to me to this very special place.

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Anywho, let’s get back to this Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding because I clearly have more exciting things to be doing (ahem, packing) then slaving over the computer all day.

I love this recipe because there are only about 20 minutes of hands-on prep, and then you just throw it in the oven and 30-ish minutes later you have a well-rounded meal (we’re talking veggies, cheese and bread) ready to just plop down on the table and serve with a huge side salad. I’m definitely speaking from experience and let me tell you, the salad is a must. It’s the perfect complement to such a filling yet tasty dish and, hey, balance!

So the only prep you have to do is toast the breadcrumbs (which BTW you can also do up to a day in advance), give the eggplant and garlic a little saute and mix all of the “pudding” ingredients together in a big bowl before dumping it into your baking dish. That’s seriously it. Let me tell ya, it can’t get much easier!

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Towards the end of our Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding’s baking time, we’ll want to pop on the broiler for a few minutes, just long enough to get that cheese on top a little golden brown (is anyone else as obsessed with slightly burnt cheese as I am?)

Straight out of the oven -> Onto the table -> Into the mouth. That’s my ideal dinner if I’ve ever heard of one.

Now excuse me while I undoubtedly go gorge myself on all of the delicious Italian food and drink I can find for dinner. You know you want to make this Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding tonight and eat along with me in spirit!

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

The classic Italian dish revamped in bread pudding form. Sauteed eggplant, fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella tucked into loads of crusty bread.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 5 cups cubed crusty bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups cubed eggplant (about 1/2 of a medium eggplant)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 4 ounces cubed mozzarella
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup basil, plus additional for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add the bread and toss to evenly coat. Let bread toast in the butter until golden brown, tossing occasionally to make sure it browns evenly, about 8 or so minutes. Place finished toasted bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

  3. In the same saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium. Once oil is heated, add the eggplant and then the garlic, tossing to combine and evenly coat. Saute until eggplant has softened slightly, again about another 8 minutes or so. 

  4. Add eggplant mixture and remaining ingredients (except for additional basil to garnish) to the large bowl containing the bread cubes and toss to combine. 

  5. Pour mixture into a medium sized casserole dish and bake in oven for 30 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, keep an eye on the bread pudding to make sure the top is not getting too brown. Somewhere between 25 and 30 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is, turn the broiler on high. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese on the top of the dish is golden and bubbly. Remove and let cool just slightly before serving. Best served with a large green salad.

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto

What a fun week I have in store for all of you!

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

Today I’m excited to share this recipe for Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Crème Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto that I created in partnership with JORD Wood Watches, and on Wednesday I have all of the details from the fun Spring Fling Brunch I hosted with some of my favorite Santa Barbara lady entrepreneurs. It’s going to be a great one!


Now that we’ve officially stepped into the month of March, it seems that there’s much anticipation of change in the air. The pressure of our New Year’s resolutions has died down a bit, if only for the fact that  “real life” has picked up again after the post-holiday coma we all fall into. I’ve personally felt a new sense of urgency, that I should always be doing more, more, more and that there is so much I should be doing that I should rarely be having any down time.

It’s a dangerous cycle we all fall into, and I try to stay conscious of not going too far down that rabbit hole. I strongly champion balanced living, after all, and how can I do so authentically if I myself am not taking the time to practice it?

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

Which is why I was so excited when JORD Wood Watches approached me to create a recipe having to do with time and how we should spend it during this turning of the seasons. As adventurous as I am in the kitchen, there are certain projects I’m hesitant to dive into, simply because I have never done them before, have a slight fear of the “unknown,” and just plain not thinking I have the time. Making homemade pasta has been at the back of my mind for quite a while, but I kept pushing it back because I thought it was complicated, required too much equipment, etc. After only a nanosecond of thought, I knew that this partnership with JORD was the perfect opportunity to set aside an afternoon in the kitchen and take the time to master this favorite carb of mine. I’m happy to say that my Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Crème Fraiche was a HUGE success, and I have now made it three times in one week because it is just so good!

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

But before I get to the recipe, I want to talk a little bit about my JORD Frankie 35 Series women’s watch. Let’s just say that as soon as I saw the entire line of JORD Wood Watches, I knew this was a company I wanted to work with. All of their products are gorgeous, and the watches can go from casual to elegant, which means I can wear my watch both in the kitchen and out to a fancy dinner with my man. I love the wooden texture and the contrasting colors on the watch faces. I opted for the navy watch face with the zebrawood band, and I love that it goes with most of my wardrobe since I very much tend to lean towards all neutral colors. Even when I’m working in the kitchen all day and most likely wearing yoga pants, I can throw on my Frankie 35 and feel instantly put together.

Wearing my JORD Wood Watch in the kitchen is also a great reminder for me to be mindful and take my time when exploring new recipes and techniques. As a chef, photographer, social media manager and consultant, it’s all too easy for me to rush through my “”To Do” list for the day and, before I know it, it’s dark outside and time to wind down. I continually have to tell myself to take a second (or minute) or two to really enjoy the process and remember why I started my own business in the first place. Every time I look at this unique watch, it reminds me what I’m here to do – share my joy of food with all of you!

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

As I mentioned, this Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Crème Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto ended up being the perfect dish for my first foray into the pasta-making world.  As soon as I finished my first test of the recipe, I texted my husband and said “If you have time, stop by for lunch. I just made homemade pasta and it’s the best thing I’ve made in a long time!” Really, nothing compares to fresh, homemade pasta. Nothing.

In order to make this “matcha” pasta, I simply whisked some culinary grade matcha powder into the flour before kneading the dough. It didn’t turn out quite as vibrantly green as I had hoped, but trust me, the flavor is allll there.

After the dough was made, I divided it into two pieces and used a rolling pin to make each piece of dough thin enough to pass through my Kitchen-Aid pasta roller attachment. You could also use a manual pasta roller, or even just a very long wooden rolling pin to get your pasta down to the proper thickness.

Once the pasta was rolled out thin enough to make fettucine, I cut each piece in half (I don’t know about you, but I hate SUPER long noodles) and then rolled each piece up like those good ol’ fruit rollups you had as a kid. This way, you can slice the dough evenly and the fettucine will turn out much straighter than if you were to just free-cut all the way down the length.

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

The next step is to unroll the individual fettucine and let them dry slightly before cooking (about 5 minutes is all you need, although you could let them dry for longer.) You don’t need a fancy pasta dryer to do this, I simply laid mine out along my marble slab.

Even though I went on and on about never wanting to make homemade pasta because I thought it would take too long, I’m very happy to report that my assumptions were wrong and I was able to get this entire dish made in less than an hour. The pasta rolling and cutting take the longest, but once those steps are complete, the rest of the components that make up Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Crème Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto come together in a flash.

I crisped up some prosciutto in a large pan with olive oil, and whisked some lemon juice, olive oil and heavy whipping cream into my crème fraiche to make the sauce. Once added to boiling water, the pasta was done in seconds, and I added it to the pan with the prosciutto along with some minced garlic. The whipped crème fraiche and a couple of hefty handfuls of arugula were the finishing touches to this amazing, intricately-flavored dish.

Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto | A partnership with JORD Wood Watches on CaliGirlCooking.com

To me, making this Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Crème Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto was the perfect foray into my new world of homemade pasta-making, a fulfilling project that helped me remember why I love my job in the first place – because I can spend as much time in the kitchen as I want!

And now for even better news – you can become part of the wood watch family too! That’s right, I’ve teamed up with JORD to offer one lucky person $100 to use towards any product on the JORD Wood Watches website. But wait, there’s more! Anyone who enters will receive a $25 gift code to use on the site once the contest ends on March 12. So hurry up and enter now!

Click here to enter (and keep scrolling for the delicious pasta recipe!)


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Homemade Matcha Pasta with Tangy Creme Fraiche and Crispy Prosciutto
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A comforting, homemade pasta dish - fresh pasta is laced with matcha and tossed with a lemony creme fraiche, finished with crispy prosciutto and arugula.

Course: Main Course
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons culinary grade matcha powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups arugula
Instructions
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and matcha powder. Pour onto a clean, dry surface and create a small well in the middle. Crack the eggs directly into the well, then whisk gently with a fork, slowly bringing in some flour from the sides. Once eggs are mostly incorporated, begin kneading the dough with your hands. Keep kneading and pressing with the palm of your hand until everything has come together. There will be some extra flour that doesn’t make it into the dough, but that’s okay. About halfway through your kneading, wipe off your workspace so there is no additional flour. The dough will be a bit tough, but that’s how it’s supposed to be!

  2. Cut the dough in half and roll out with a rolling pin until it’s thin enough to pass through the widest setting on your roller. Pass the dough through at this setting a few times, folding in half a couple of times if there are any holes. Once your dough passes easily through the widest setting, go up to the next thinnest setting and pass through a few times again. Continue this process until both of your pieces of dough have gone through setting 4, which is the recommended thickness for fettucine on the KitchenAid pasta roller. 

  3. Once again cut each sheet of dough in half so that you’re not working with super-long pieces of dough. Take each new sheet and roll it up like you would a fruit roll-up or tortilla. Slice each roll in ¼ to ½ inch pieces (the width of fettucine) and then unroll and spread out on a clean, dry surface to dry. 

  4. While your pasta is drying, prepare the sauce and toppings. In a large saute pan (one that will be big enough to hold all of the pasta and the toppings), warm one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped prosciutto and cook until crispy. Turn off heat. In a small mixing bowl, combine crème fraiche, the other tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, heavy cream, salt and pepper using a whisk. Set aside. 

  5. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, slide in the dried pasta and immediately start stirring with a wooden spoon (this will help prevent it from sticking together.) Bring water back to a boil. The pasta will be done cooking 5-10 seconds after the water starts boiling again. Keep an eye on it, it cooks quickly! Drain pasta and add to pan with crispy prosciutto. 

  6. Add minced garlic to the pan with the pasta, and then add the whipped crème fraiche sauce. Stir to combine. Add a tablespoon of butter to thicken things up a bit. 

  7. Stir arugula into pasta right before serving. Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Boozy Affogato

Raise your hand if you’re all for combining booze, caffeine and dessert in one delicious treat!

Boozy Affogato | CaliGirlCooking.com

Boozy Affogato has arrived and it’s definitely here to stay. Rich vanilla ice cream is topped with a heavy pour of spiked espresso to make the perfect simple dessert. It comes together as quickly as you can pull that shot of espresso and will disappear from your glass just as fast. And since we’re covering all of the basic food groups (as mentioned above) I think it would be just as suitable to enjoy as a special treat after a weekend breakfast as it would to sip on after a big Sunday meal.


I don’t know what kind of a week you’ve had, but judging from my own hectic schedule as well as so many of my friends’, it’s been a crazy one. After being on the road the past two weekends, I’m very much looking forward to a relaxing couple of days at home with nothing more important to do than go on a hike to see some beautiful waterfalls. Oh, and enjoy a Boozy Affogato or two, of course.

Boozy Affogato | CaliGirlCooking.com

Yep, we literally have NO plans for this weekend and we are so excited. You all know that leading a balanced lifestyle is my jam, and as I’ve grown up a bit, I’ve come to realize that occasional weekends with nothing on the schedule are absolutely necessary. It leaves you time to regroup, recover from a busy week and, heck, do something totally spontaneous every now and then.

It also leaves you more time to get in the kitchen and make something completely new and adventurous. Some of my favorite lazy weekend cooking projects are homemade breads, stocks and soups made from scratch, and homemade pasta (which I have another exciting version of coming to the blog on Monday!) What are your favorite things to make in the kitchen when you have a little extra time to play around?

One thing that you will not need all that extra time to whip up is this recipe for Boozy Affogato. I took the Italian classic and amped it up with Cognac and bourbon. If we’re going to have espresso for dessert, we might as well counteract all that caffeine with a little alcohol so we’re not up all night, right?

Boozy Affogato | CaliGirlCooking.com

So here’s all it takes to create this incredibly tasty dessert (or breakfast, I won’t judge):

Vanilla Ice Cream (homemade or store-bought, doesn’t matter)
Espresso (or brewed coffee, if you don’t have an espresso machine)
Cognac
Bourbon

That’s it! Four ingredients and you have yourself an elegant, uncomplicated dessert that would impress a table full of fancy dinner guests just as much as it would your significant other on a quiet night in.

We’re heading to Italy at the end of April, and I’m getting so excited to be reacquainted with authentic versions of all of my favorite Italian foods (and drinks!) Until then, I’m going to have to settle for whipping up Boozy Affogatos and eating as much homemade pizza as I can to get myself ready. Who’s with me?

Boozy Affogato | CaliGirlCooking.com

Boozy Affogato | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Boozy Affogato
Prep Time
5 mins
 

The classic Italian treat with a boozy kick - rich espresso is spiked with Cognac and bourbon and poured over creamy vanilla ice cream.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 1 serving
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces brewed espresso (or coffee)
  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce Cognac
  • 1 large scoop vanilla ice cream
Instructions
  1. Combine espresso, Cognac and bourbon in a small measuring cup. Scoop ice cream into a small bowl (or fairly shallow coffee mug) and pour espresso mixture over top. Enjoy immediately.

Boozy Affogato | CaliGirlCooking.com

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese

Exotic fall flavor vibes right here ↓

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’ve been practicing major restraint because for some reason I want allllll the curry right now. Seriously, if you look at my recipe brainstorm list, you’ll see about a million and one things I want to do with this magic ingredient. For now, I decided to settle for sharing this Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese with all of you, but rest assured that’s not the end of the curry line for this here blog.


Tell me, how much do you love curry? Are you borderline obsessed like I am or do you steer as clear of it as possible? Should I keep posting more curry recipes in the next few months, while the air has that little nip to it that makes us want to curl up with a comforting bowl of spice? Or would you rather see more of the usual: pumpkin, squash, apples and the like?

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know that my curry obsession is nothing new. One of the first recipes I posted when I revamped the blog was this Pumpkin Curry Hummus (OMG yum! It’s that time of the year when I have some in my refrigerator at all times,) but there were also these Curry-Rosemary Mixed Nuts, this Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples, and these Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce.

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese | CaliGirlCooking.com

The GREAT news is, curry and healthy recipes go hand in hand, so we don’t have to feel bad about enjoying all that our little Indian spice friend has to offer. This Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese is no exception. I know, I know, you’re thinking “How can pasta with a white sauce be HEALTHY?” Well, let me tell you my friends, because this is exactly the type of thing CaliGirl Cooking is all about.

We all know I’m definitely not into cutting anything out from our diets completely, rather practicing moderation and eating mostly whole foods. Something like that 80/20 way of eating that everyone’s talking about these days. But we all want to enjoy those simple comfort foods of pasta and a cream sauce every once in a while. I feel ya. I crave it too. With this Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese, we immediately get that same comfort food feeling and, wait for it, without all of the cream or butter!

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s right folks, the White Lamb Bolognese is made with my OG cashew cream (which has also become a very real obsession of mine, see Exhibits A & B.) In fact, this recipe can be made completely vegan with the omission of the ground lamb. Say what? Ummmm….yea. I really am soooo excited to share this recipe with you because it is so damn tasty, rich and comforting, without REALLY being rich. So healthy!

What do you say? Shall we get to it?

Raise your hand if you’re super intimidated to make gnocchi from scratch. Me, me! Or at least I was, until I did a little research and dusted off my parents’ old copy of Marcella Hazan’s “The Classic Italian Cookbook.” You see, the recipes that I had been seeing online all involved the use of egg yolks, while Hazan recommends NOT using them, stating that it makes the gnocchi a tad more chewy and less melt-in-your-mouth tender. I could hardly believe that I could make gnocchi out of JUST flour and potatoes, but I decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did.

The process is amazingly simple: We boil whole potatoes and easily peel the skin off afterwards. We push them through a ricer (buy one now, you will NOT regret it) and then mix the riced potato with just enough flour to make a slightly sticky dough. We also cannot forget to knead in the curry powder at this step. Your hands MIGHT smell like curry for two days straight afterwards, but who’s complaining.

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese | CaliGirlCooking.com

The dough is rolled out into long, skinny “logs,” which we’re going to cut into about ¾-inch pieces for the gnocchi.

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Once the dough is cut, we do the little indentation trick with a fork which, according to Hazan, will help the gnocchi cook more evenly. It sounds complicated, but it’s really not.

Essentially, you’re going to hold each gnocchi lengthwise along the tines of the fork, then press the gnocchi into the tines with the pointer finger on your other hand (the one not holding the fork) and flick it off onto your floured surface. Essentially we’re making the gnocchi have a little bit of concavity with the fork indentations underneath.

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Once the gnocchi are prepped, we set them aside until we’re ready to throw everything together (they really only take a couple of minutes to cook.)

We saute our ground lamb with onion and garlic (or just saute the onion and garlic if you’d like to make this vegan) and then add some dried oregano, fresh basil and Roma tomatoes. We drown this mixture in cashew cream and mix it up real good, letting it all simmer together for a few minutes and finishing it all off with a hint of fresh lemon juice. DO NOT skip the lemon juice. It’s seriously the icing on the cake and MAKES this dish.

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Once our sauce is simmering, we drop our curry gnocchi into a big pot of boiling, salted water. A couple of minutes later, the cute little curry pillows will begin floating to the top of the pot, which means they’re done and ready to be pulled out.

We place a hefty serving of gnocchi on the bottom of our favorite pasta dishes, drown it all with the White Lamb Bolognese sauce, and there you have it! A delicious, healthy and homey meal. I may be biased, but this is seriously one of my most favorite meals I’ve ever featured here on CaliGirl Cooking. It’s just the right amount of decadent while not being over-the-top, and the gamey, creamy White Lamb Bolognese is the perfect complement to the exotic Curry Gnocchi. It’s perfectly balanced with an insane burst of flavor that will leave you craving more.

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Now, excuse me while I go pour a glass of red wine, I have some Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese to devour.

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese

1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 3-4

A comforting yet healthy cool weather meal, homemade curry gnocchi is topped with a White Lamb Bolognese made with non-dairy cashew cream, fresh tomatoes and basil.

*Gnocchi recipe adapted from Marcella Hazan's "The Classic Italian Cookbook."

Ingredients

    For the Curry Gnocchi:
  • 1 ½ pounds baking potatoes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
    For the White Lamb Bolognese:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces ground lamb
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 batch of cashew cream (see recipe in Notes below)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and fill with water (to about a ½ an inch to an inch over the top of the potatoes.) Place pan on stove and bring to a boil. Cook at a rolling boil until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes (be careful not to poke the potatoes too much, as this will cause them to become waterlogged; I used a pair of tongs to lightly squeeze the sides and see how tender they felt.) Once cooked, remove potatoes from water and let cool slightly. Once they are cool enough to touch, peel off the skin.
  2. Cut the potatoes into quarters and put them through your ricer into a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the flour, kneading until you get a slightly sticky dough (that’s still not too difficult to handle.) I used about ¾ of a cup of flour, but this may vary depending on the potatoes you are using. Knead in the curry powder.
  3. Divide the dough into about five pieces on a lightly floured surface and roll each piece into a long, skinny log, about 3/4-inch in diameter. Cut each log into ¾-inch long pieces (the size of gnocchi.) Using a fork, hold each gnocchi lengthwise against the tines of the fork with the pointer finger of the hand not holding the fork, then gently flick it off. This will give the gnocchi a little concavity to cook more evenly. Set prepared gnocchi aside. Place a large pot of heavily salted boiling water over high heat to bring to a boil.
  4. Next, prepare the sauce. In a large saute pan, cook the onions and garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil. Once the onions and garlic have started to turn translucent and become fragrant, add the ground lamb. As the ground lamb begins to brown, add the oregano and tomatoes. Stir until the lamb looks mostly cooked, although a few shades of pink are okay as we’ll be cooking it a bit longer with the sauce. Add the cashew cream, fresh basil, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Let simmer for about 10 minutes for the flavors to meld, and squeeze in lemon juice, once again stirring to combine.
  5. Once your large pot of water has come to a boil, begin adding the curry gnocchi in batches (about a dozen at a time.) Once the gnocchi floats to the top of the pot, remove with a slotted spoon.
  6. Spoon gnocchi onto individual plates and top with a generous portion of the White Lamb Bolognese. Garnish with more fresh basil and serve immediately.

Notes

To make the cashew cream, soak one cup of raw, unsalted cashews in water for at least 4 hours (or overnight.) Drain cashews and add them to a blender with ½ teaspoon of nutritional yeast, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ¾ cup of filtered water. Blend on high speed until a cream forms. This can be made up to a couple of days in advance

Wine Pairing Note: The hubs and I LOVED enjoying this with one of our wedding wines, the Newton Claret. Any Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah (a classic pairing for lamb) would be fabulous with this.

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This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Is it dinner time yet?

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Your Monday meals just got a whole lot better…

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

If the fact that I made these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes multiple times in the span of a week isn’t a clear indication of why you should plan on making these TONIGHT, I don’t know what is.


As you can imagine, the life of a food blogger is constantly filled with new recipe ideas to try and different flavor combinations to test out. This makes it a very rare occurrence that a certain meal appears on repeat in our house. I find we have an endless supply of leftovers sitting in the refrigerator, and once we finish one thing it’s immediately replaced by one or more new dishes that I’ve been fine-tuning and getting ready to be photograph-able in the very near future.

When the hubs and I sat down to eat my first go-around with these sweet potatoes (which actually included sweet Italian sausage crumbles instead of pancetta – also super tasty, might I add) we started reminiscing about how much we loved sweet potatoes, and how much better they were than good ol’ white potatoes.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Having both grown up with moms that were raised on the East Coast, we remarked about how, when we were little, there were always regular baked or mashed potatoes on the table, but never our sweet, creamy sweet potato friends. The horrors! I guess now we’re trying to make up for lost time by making these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes on repeat. Life could certainly be worse.

But guys, seriously, I could make these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes forever and ever and ever. They are soooo good. And also really darn healthy. Can I get an “Amen?”

The other great thing about these sweet potatoes is that they come together fairly quickly with just a little bit of planning. The longest part of the process will be baking the potatoes, but you could even do this on Sunday during meal prep for the week (the plain baked sweet potatoes will last in the refrigerator for a few days), or just turn on the oven and pop them in right when you get home from work.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Once you have your sweet potatoes baked, all that’s left is to whip up the white bean and pancetta filling and the sweet, garlicky bruschetta topping. For the beans, you have two options. I had batch-cooked some dried flageolets I had in the pantry a couple days before, so I simply reheated those in the same pan that I crisped up the pancetta in (hey, there’s nothing like a little leftover pancetta grease to really flavor up some plain ol’ white beans.) But, if you really want to make this a quick and easy meal and aren’t in to the dried bean soak and batch cook, simply use canned white beans.

If you do use the canned white beans, feel free to leave them as is, or add in some rosemary and garlic when you’re reheating them in the pancetta pan. This will leave you with an unbelievable flavor bomb when said white beans are combined with the bright and flavorful bruschetta topping on top of the creamy, roasted sweet potato.

The bruschetta is classic and comes together with just a few ingredients. It’s exactly what you would make for the classic Italian crostini topping: peak season tomatoes, sharp, raw minced garlic, fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and dash of salt…and you’re set! No cooking required for this little step.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Once you have your sweet potato baked, your pancetta crisped, your white beans warmed and your bruschetta mixed, you’re ready to rock and roll. Slice open the sweet potato and mash it down just a tad to make an easy landing zone for the white beans and pancetta. Be generous here, no skimping on all of these mouthwatering flavors. Finish off your stuffed tater with a topping of tasty bruschetta, and you have a simple, light weeknight meal, perfect for any night of the week when a heavily-involved dinner just sounds like no fun at all.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, you’re my weeknight hero <3

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: Makes 4 servings

A healthy, Italian-inspired stuffed sweet potato recipe with a fragrant white bean and pancetta mixture and zesty bruschetta topping.

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 4 ounces pancetta (or crumbled Italian sausage, or even tofu if you’re so inclined)
  • 1 – 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ cups homemade white beans)
  • 4 cloves garlic, separated (2 peeled and smashed, 2 minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups diced tomato (about 2 medium tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. First, bake the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce each potato about four times with a fork and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the potatoes feel soft to the touch. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Add pancetta to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat on your stove. Cook until pancetta just starts to turn crispy.
  3. Add white beans, the two smashed garlic cloves, and the fresh rosemary. Cook until mixture is heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Finally, make the bruschetta. Combine the two minced garlic cloves, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  5. Now it’s time to assemble. Slice each sweet potato in half and smash down slightly to make a good “cradle” for the toppings. Top generously with white bean and pancetta mixture and then finish off with bruschetta. Serve immediately.

Notes

Wine Pairing Note: This light dinner would pair well with a number of wines because of the multitude of flavors. A creamy Chardonnay, an herbal Sauvignon Blanc, or a light Pinot Noir would all be fantastic options with this meal.

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Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Sweet potatoes on sweet potatoes…

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