I will start with the pasta dish that I prepared last Valentines Day which was a Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Bay Scallops and Kale. This was my first attempt at preparing a carbonara style pasta and we loved it! We indulge a little more for special meals and I believe that’s what makes them even more special. This post also includes how to prepare Potato Gnocchi, a Spicy Red Sauce and a twist on a traditional gnocchi recipe, Toasted Potato Gnocchi with Golden Beets, Basil and White Wine. I say this often, and will say it again. Cook for the ones you love. Make special memories by cooking together. These are some of my most cherished memories.
Creamy Bacon Carbonara with Bay Scallops and Baby Kale
4 thick cut slices of bacon, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups bay scallops, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 to 7 ounces pappardelle pasta (cooked according to package)
1 1/3 cups of pasta water
2 1/2 to 3 cups fresh baby kale
1. In a large skillet, add the bacon and cook on medium/low until crispy and all the fat has rendered out. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and garlic slices, cook just until garlic becomes aromatic. Add the scallops and cook for just 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. In a bowl, combine the cheese egg mixture, set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1 1/3 cups of pasta water. As soon as pasta is cooked and before you drain the water, add the baby kale. Drain all together and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
3. Return the bacon mixture to medium heat. Gradually whisk in the pasta water to cheese/egg mixture. Add pasta/kale to the pan with bacon, add cheese/egg mixture and turn heat to low. Toss to combine and cook just until sauce becomes thick. Add more cheese at this time if you like. Yields 4 light servings.
Potato Gnocchi, little pillows of potato pasta toasted in olive oil with garlic and drenched in a spicy red sauce. This is my husband Richard’s all time favorite in the whole world! Lol! Did that convince you on how tasty this dish is? I prepare gnocchi only twice a year. On his birthday and during the summer when the basil is fresh from my garden.
1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1. In a medium pan, add potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan, shake over heat until dry.
2. Working over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, rice the potatoes in an even layer. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the salt, pour over potatoes. Sprinkle the flour over the potatoes and stir gently just until a dough forms.
3. Gently roll dough into four 1/2 inch thick ropes. Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into 1 inch pieces. Roll each piece against the ridges of the gnocchi board or you can also use a fork to create this effect. Transfer the gnocchi to the baking sheet, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
4. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, then cook them for 1 minute longer. Gently drain the gnocchi, toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and transfer to baking sheet until cool. Yields about 2 pounds. The Recipe for the Spicy Red Sauce Follows Next!
Spicy Red Sauce For Your Favorite Pasta Dishes
1. Preheat the olive oil to medium heat fro 3 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and serrano pepper. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
2. Add in the roasted red pepper and all of the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and taste for salt and pepper. Continue cooking at a low simmer for a good 45 to 50 minutes until the sauce thickens and reduces.
3. Now for the next step, I used a hand blender, but you can also blend sauce in batches in a regular blender. Blend the warm sauce and cook for another 10 minutes. Yields up to 8 servings. I like to use this sauce for any pasta dish or as a pizza sauce. Cool completely for refrigerating or freezing.
Toasted Potato Gnocchi w/ Golden Beets, Chipotlé, Basil & White Wine. Once you have prepared a batch of the homemade Potato Gnocchi, you can prepare this variation. This was in the middle of summer with all the wonderful fresh ingredients from the farmers market.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound cooked potato gnocchi
4 to 5 golden beets, peeled and sliced thin, about 2 cups
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotlé in adobo, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/8 to 1/4 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 to 5 large basil leaves, sliced
1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
1. In a large skillet, preheat the oliv oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the gnocchi and cook, stirring often until toasted and golden in most spots.
2. Add in the beets, garlic, chipotle and red pepper flakes and toss to combine for just a minute. Add in the remaining ingredients, toss to combine. Taste for salt, serve right away.