Butternut Squash Agnoletti with Curry Emulsion

_MG_5484I have a confession to make: I met Thomas Keller for a very brief moment a few months ago I was completely starstruck. He was, of course, just as charismatic as you might imagine (and taller than I had pictured), and of course, passionate about his cooking. I remember getting the French Laundry Cookbook from the library when I was in high school, poring over the pictures and marveling at the recipes. _MG_5476It was astonishing that anyone could take the time to make all of the separate components for just one dish at the French Laundry – but the part I loved the most was that Chef Keller didn't dumb anything down for the home cook, like many cookbooks do: if you wanted to make Oysters and Pearls like they have at the French Laundry, then damn it, you were going to have the same recipe the trained cooks have there. It might not look or taste exactly the same, but if Thomas Keller thinks you can do it, then I think that's a pretty good endorsement._MG_5488

Needless to say, I'm kind of obsessed with anything Keller-related and every single thing I have made from the Ad Hoc Cookbook has been delicious. So when I came across a recipe on Epicurious for Fava Bean Agnoletti with Curry Emulsion, I knew I had to try it out, particularly since I had been wanting to try my hand at a filled pasta for a while as well. I swapped the fava beans for a more winter-appropriate roasted butternut squash, and I have to say that this might be my favorite pasta sauce ever. Surprisingly simple, and yet with a  complexity that complements the creamy pasta perfectly. You could, of course, make the sauce to use with store-bought pasta, but if you have a couple of extra hours on a weekend I truly think it's worth the effort. And you don't want to let Thomas Keller down, do you?_MG_5663

 

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Butternut Squash Ravioli with Curry Emulsion (adapted from Epicurious)

Filling:

2 cups roasted butternut squash 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste 1/2 recipe Pasta Dough (I included the link as the instructions are very thorough)

Curry Emulsion

2 teaspoons curry powder 2 tablespoons chopped shallots 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable stock, chicken stock or water 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup crème fraîche 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup arugula

For filling:

Place the squash, cheese and olive oil in a food processor. Blend until smooth and season well with salt and pepper, then refrigerate the mixture until it is cool, or for up to 2 days.

Roll out the dough and fill the agnolotti according to the To Fill Agnolotti instructions. You should have approximately 48 agnolotti.

To complete: For the curry emulsion, toast the curry powder in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is fragrant. Stir in the shallots and heat for another minute. Add the 3/4 cup stock, the cream and crème fraîche, bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Swirl in the butter. When the butter is melted, transfer the sauce to a blender. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons stock and blend for 30 seconds to emulsify the mixture. Season with salt and pepper and strain into a wide pan.

Meanwhile, cook the agnolotti in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.

Drain the agnolotti, add the agnolotti and arugula to the curry emulsion, and toss over low heat to coat with sauce. Serve immediately.

Corn, Chicken & Butternut Squash Soup

_MG_5428Soup isn't the most glamorous of meals – not nearly as exciting as, say, foie gras, or steak, or even pizza. And yet, there is something so inherently comforting about a bowl of warm soup, filled with hearty vegetables and diced chicken, with a little honey-drizzled cornbread on the side for good measure. Soup like this makes me long for a fireplace, for a cabin somewhere in the woods with snow falling outside the window and no honking horns of the city. I can't promise that this soup will take you there, but it will make you warm on a cold night no matter where you are, and give you your daily serving of vegetables to boot. And sometimes, that's good enough._MG_5431

 

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Corn, Chicken & Butternut Squash Soup (adapted from Epicurious)

Word of warning: this recipe makes A LOT of soup. So be sure to have plenty of tupperware for leftovers, or make it for a lot of people (i.e. more than two)

2 tablespoon butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
9 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash (cut from one 1 3/4-pound squash)
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 16-ounce bags frozen corn kernels
1 cup milk
4 cups diced skinned roast chicken (2-3 chicken breasts)
2 cups chopped green onions
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and 1 cup bell peppers. Sauté until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Mix in broth, then squash, potatoes, and thyme; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until squash and potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Add corn, cream, and 1 cup bell peppers. Simmer until corn is tender, about 10 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Add chicken, 1 cup green onions, and 1/2 cup cilantro; simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle chowder into bowls; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup green onions and 2 tablespoons cilantro.

Quinoa with Squash, Apples, and Goat Cheese

I confess, I had never eaten quinoa until a couple of years. And I feel kind of bad every time I eat it since its new popularity in the US has made the price skyrocket in places that use it as a dietary staple like South America. However, I still love it. With more flavor and texture than rice, not to mention health benefits, you can make an entire meal by mixing it with a few vegetables. And of course, a dash (or a whole log) of goat cheese. Which clearly makes everything better. Quinoa with Squash, Apples, and Goat Cheese (serves 4-6)

1 large butternut or kabocha squash, halved and seeds removed

1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2 in pieces

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups quinoa

3 cups chicken broth

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet and roast until very tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown at the edges, about 8 minutes. Stir in quinoa and broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. reduce heat to simmer, and cook, covered, until quinoa has absorbed broth, about 15 minutes.

When squash is done, cut off the skin and cube into one inch pieces. Toss with squash, then add apples and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper, then top with goat cheese.