Pasta Giardiniera AKA Farmer’s Market Pasta

Penne Giardiniera

Pasta Giardiniera translates Garden Pasta. It is a vegetarian (and vegan) pasta, but of course you can always add some meat if you prefer. Feel free to use any pasta you like.

In my first novel, Deception in Siena, Antonio Cortese and his Aunt Chiara go to the garden to see what they can find. If you don’t have your own vegetable garden, the next best option is to go to your local Farmer’s Market and see what fresh, seasonal produce is available.

I’ve named my version “Farmer’s Market Pasta” because I love to support the local farmers and believe that local farmer’s markets are one of the best places to buy fresh, full-flavored local produce.

Recipes for Giardiniera sauces are very flexible. You can use whatever fresh, seasonal vegetables that you like. Often the base sauce would be a standard tomato or Marinara sauce. I’ve chosen to do this version with our un-cooked Pomodoro sauce which is a little lighter and fresher.

Fresh Asparagus
Farfalle (Bow-tie) Giardiniera
Crook neck zucchini

Frankie’s Tips:
♦ If the weather is nice, consider grilling your
vegetables on the barbecue! This is my favorite
way to cook them for optimal flavor. If you don’t
have a vegetable grilling pan for your barbecue,
then cut the vegetables in larger slices for grilling and then cut them smaller afterwards. You could also skewer them.
♦ Another good method is to cook them in a grill
pan with raised ridges. If you don’t have one, any sauté pan will work.
♦ Depending on the season, some of my favorite
veggies for this are asparagus, peppers, zucchini or other squash, eggplant, broccoli raab, and onions (small onions like Cipollini’s are perfect).

Heirloom Tomatoes

Suggested Wine: Nebbiolo
The name Nebbiolo comes from the root word nebbia which means fog in Italian. It hales from the northern Italian region of Piedmont. There, the fog sits upon the valleys and hillsides throughout the autumn, slowing the ripening process, and developing great depth of character.


Giardiniera Recipe – serves 5-6:

  • 1-pound pasta of your choice
  • 1 recipe Pomodoro Sauce (recipe below)
  • Fresh vegetables of your choice–cut into bite size pieces
  • Extra Virgin olive oil (to toss vegetables with)
  • Parmesan or other hard Italian cheese–grated or curled
  • Fresh herb of your choice for garnish

Giardiniera Procedure:

  1. Prepare Pomodoro sauce and set aside. It’s even better if made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight.
  2. Toss vegetables with olive oil and cook until tender (See Frankie’s Tips above).
  3. Heat 4 quarts of water and add a tablespoon of salt when it begins to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining.
  4. While pasta is cooking, combine sauce and veggies and warm gently over low heat. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. When pasta is al dente, add to sauce along with the 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water. Toss together.
  6. Garnish with cheese and herbs.
  7. Tell God “mille grazie” for the delicious meal that is going to make you vibrant and healthy!
Pomodoro Sauce

Pomodoro Sauce recipe – makes 5-6 servings

  • 1 – 28 oz. can Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic—pressed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil—julienned
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (preferably Sea Salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pomodoro Sauce Procedure:

  • Smell the fresh basil and say “thank you” to God for the good things in life.
  • Place tomatoes with their juice in a large bowl. Crush tomatoes with your hands.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate. I told you this was quick and easy!

Printable PDF for Pasta Giardiniera (AKA Farmer’s Market Pasta)

Printable PDF for Pomodoro Sauce

Sweet Potato Gnocchi… a perfect comfort food for Autumn

Happy chef!

Autumn has already arrived here in the Pacific Northwest.  Not many leaves have changed color yet but we’re getting plenty of cool and wet days.  So let’s warm you up with some comfort food.  This dish feels like Autumn to me.  Maybe it’s the color of the sweet potatoes that make it feel that way.

Making your own gnocchi takes a little time and practice but it really is not difficult and once you start to get the hang of it, it is great fun. If you want to double or triple the fun, make them with some friends or family.  Or even more fun still, hire me (Frankie) to come and do a cooking class party in your home!

Peeled sweet potatoes

There are really two different recipes here, one for making the gnocchi, and the other for the way I recently made mine with Butter, Pancetta, Onions and fresh Sage.  I wanted something that would complement, not overwhelm, the flavor of the sweet potatoes, and this really turned out great.  If you wanted to make this vegetarian you could leave out the pancetta; and if you wanted it completely vegan, leave out the butter and use only a good extra virgin olive oil.

Using a potato ricer

If you’ve never made gnocchi be sure to read the Tips for Making Homemade Gnocchi  before you launch into the recipe.

The key is getting the dough right… not too moist… not too dry.  I instruct you add most of the flour but then you add more as needed until you get just past the point of the dough being sticky. You don’t want to overwork it or it will get tough.  You want it

Adding flour

to be no longer sticky but still supple, workable, and holding together (not crumbly).  I can’t tell you exactly how much flour because different potatoes will have different moisture levels depending on the type of potato, the baking, etc.  Besides, the amount of potato may vary also.  If your weight is a little over or under, just adjust the other ingredients accordingly.

Mixing dough

A Couple of tools are really handy when making gnocchi.  Using a potato ricer helps so the potatoes are not lumpy which will cause them to crumble.  Most cost under $25 and they are awesome to use when making mashed potatoes.  If you don’t have one, just mash the potatoes well.

Form a ball

Rolling dough

Cutting dough

Adding ridges with gnocchi board

The other tool is a gnocchi board, used for putting ridges on the gnocchi.  These are only about $6 on Amazon.  Order it today and you’ll have it in a day.  Here is the one I bought…

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Fantes-Gnocchi-Beechwood-8-Inches-Original/dp/B0019R7SPS/ref=sr_1_2?crid=15YRPY0G6TRGD&keywords=gnocchi+board&qid=1568750620&s=gateway&sprefix=gnocc%2Caps%2C213&sr=8-2

Finished gnocchi

Another tip or two:
  1. Instead of cutting the dough into balls, it will make it easier to roll out if you cut it in longer, narrower pieces.
  2. Also, if you over-flour the work surface it will make the dough harder to roll.  It will want to just slide around under your hands.

HOW I SERVED MY SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI:

Making the butter, pancetta, onion, sage sauce

As mentioned earlier I wanted something that would complement, not overwhelm, the flavor of the sweet potatoes.  A very common way to serve potato gnocchi in Italy in with a simple butter and sage sauce.  I wanted to take it to another level so I added pancetta (Italian bacon) and onions to that.  There are lots of other good ideas online. A friend told be about a sauce she did with butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, cranberries, and pecans. Sounds great, and the sweetness would work with these.

 

 

Vegetarian Option: Easy just leave out the pancetta.

Vegan Option: Our granddaughter is vegan.  They don’t do butter.  For her’s we simply eliminated that in favor of a good extra virgin olive oil (or walnut oil would be excellent).

 

Recipes are following.  If you’d prefer recipes in PDF format click below

Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe PDF

Buona sera.  May God richly bless your table with joy, laughter, and his abundant love!

Frankie