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Italian Thanksgiving


Sautéed Country Bread With Cranberry Jam  

Potato-Gnocchi Gratin  

Potato-Gnocchi Gratin
11/2 pounds large fingerling potatoes
3/4 cup OO flour plus 1/4 cup for dusting (available at Buon Italia)
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
11/2 cups diced Robiola Bosina, about 81/4ounces (available at BuonItalia)
13/4 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, warm
Salt and black pepper

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover with water. Set the pan over medium-low heat, and boil for about 35 minutes or until cooked. Drain the potatoes, and while they are still hot, remove the skins, holding the potatoes in a cloth. Pass the potatoes through a flour sieve or ricer.

In a bowl, combine the hot potato purée with the flour, egg yolks, 6 tablespoons Parmigiano, and a pinch of salt; mix briefly with your hands until combined. Place the gnocchi dough on a counter dusted with flour, and take a small piece of dough and roll it between the palms of your hands to form a cylinder about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the gnocchi logs into pieces about 3/4-inch long, and slide them onto a tray dusted lightly with flour. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the gnocchi with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place the butter into a large sauté pan set over medium-low heat, and when it has partially melted, add the warm chicken stock and reduce the heat to low. At this point, slide the gnocchi gently into the boiling water, and as soon as they rise to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon. (This may have to be done in batches, as you do not want to overcrowd the pan.) Add the gnocchi to the sauté pan, increase the heat to medium, and move the gnocchi around in the pan until they are evenly glazed. Remove from the heat, fold in the diced Robiola, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the gnocchi to a gratin dish, and sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano over the top. Place under a hot broiler for a few minutes or until the surface is golden. Serve immediately.

Butternut-Squash Purée
1 large butternut squash
1/2 stick butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream, warm
Salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Split the butternut squash in half, remove the seeds, and season with salt and pepper. Place onto a baking tray, skin side down, and cook for about 2 1/2 hours or until the center of the squash feels soft to the touch. Scrape out the flesh with a spoon, taking care not to include any skin, and place in a food processor. Add the butter and half the cream, and start to blend slowly, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure a smooth purée. Process again, and slowly add the remaining cream as necessary, until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving dish.

Sautéed Country Bread With Cranberry Jam
21/2 cups cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 orange, zest removed
1 lemon, zest removed
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Pullman sandwich loaf
11/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 quart rum-raisin ice cream

Add the cranberries, 3/4 cup sugar, the orange and lemon zest, and 1/2 cup water to a saucepan, and fold together. Set the pan over medium-low heat, semi-covered, and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, until the cranberries are soft and the sugar forms a syruplike consistency. Remove from the heat, and add the balsamic vinegar. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, transfer to a sealed container, and refrigerate overnight.

Cut eight 1-inch-thick slices of bread, and trim into 3-by-4-inch rectangles. Melt half the butter in a large sauté pan, add 2 tablespoons sugar, and when it dissolves, add half the bread and sauté until golden on both sides, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining butter, sugar, and bread.

Place the warm sautéed bread on individual plates, spoon the cranberry jam over the top, and finish with a scoop of rum-raisin ice cream. Serve immediately.


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