I really should not complain as the temperature was still above freezing this morning but half way through my shopping, it started to rain. And not regular rain, the kind of really thin drizzle that gets into every fiber and pore and chills you through and through.
A nice cup of Chinese tea with rose buds that I picked up at the Chatelain market is warming me up as I type. Ahhhh!
The choice as expected was a wide variety of roots, radishes, cabbages and some nice leafy greens including a gorgeous bunch of multicolor Chard that screamed my name. I also found butternut squash, a rare find at the organic market. It is not commonly grown here and is used mostly by North Africans.
(A must in cous-cous)
Here is what I bought at the produce stand:
1 large bunch if rainbow chard “Bette” (about 1 lb)
1 butternut squash (med size)
1 bunch of cilantro, 1 of mint and 1 of parsley
1 bunch of sage
As I was buying my produce, I though I could do a variation on “gnudi” using the chard (gnudi=nakeds: little dumplings traditionally made with spinach and ricotta) .
Usually served with brown butter & sage or in a fresh tomato sauce, I will make a variation making a sauce with my gorgeous butternut squash, I will have extra squash so I will turn the rest into a soup for tomorrow by just adding a bit of water and reheating it.
Wash the chard and trim the stems. Then put them in a large pot with med-low heat. Cover and let them wilt in their own water (some water left from the washing some naturally occuring in the vegetable). Drain and let it cool.
Meanwhile, trim the leek, slice and wash it to remove all the sand/dirt. Peel the butternut squash and cut into cubes about 1″. In a pot add 1/4 cup olive oil and on very low heat, cook the leek until translucent. Add the squash and 6-8 leaves of sage and cover the pot, cook slowly until the squash is almost done. Then add enough water to barely cover the squash and cook until the squash is completely soft. Let it cool and put into your blender. Puree until silky and smooth.
In a bowl, mix in the chard with herbs, ricotta, 2-3 tbs grated parmesan, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and a small pinch of salt (the cheese is already salty). Mix well and form little dumplings. (I use a teaspoon to scoop out the mixture).
You can refrigerate the dumplings until all your other ingredients are ready.
Warm up some olive oil with sage leaves, heat your pumkin sauce and bring a large pot to a boil, add seas salt to the water. Add your dumplings and wait until they float to the surface. Plate and serve.
Bon Appetit from Catherine @ Sainte Catherine!
NOTE: Some of you have tried this recipe and the “gnudi” fell apart in the water. Here are a few tricks: you must squeeze all the water out of the spinach or chard with your hands until there is no liquid. Roll the gnudi in a light dusting of flour and let them rest a bit. Finally your water should be soft boiling.