Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Meatless Monday's

Today is the first Monday in 2011 and I made a resolution to focus on Meatless Monday's in our home.  The movement has been around for a few years and it just makes sense.  The goal is to reduce meat consumption by 15% in order to improve your personal health and the health of our planet.  This grassroots movement actually spans all borders and demographic groups. By cutting out meat once a week, we can improve our health, reduce our carbon footprint and lead the world in the race to reduce climate change.

Over the past year, my focus has been on healthier meals for both my family and clients.  I am using the freshest vegetables available, joined a CSA and have more meatless meals than ever, but decided to take it one step further and give it a specific focus.  The Meatless Monday Movement makes it permanent and focused. 

With all that said, my first meatless meal of the new year wasn't the healthiest I could create.  I went through my fridge and found food I wanted to use and added a saute of greens to make me feel better eating this meal.  I not only made gnocchi, but decided to make a sauce of butter and basil instead of the healthier red sauce.  Oh well, there are 51 more weeks in the year...

Ricotta Spinach Gnocchi with a Saute of greens

1 lb Ricotta
10 oz. Spinach
2 Large egg yolks
1 1/4 Cup flour
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese
Salt - to taste
Pinch of Nutmeg

This is an easy recipe and tastes much lighter than potato gnocchi.  Once you cook the spinach, (you can also use frozen spinach) squeeze out the water.  I find putting the spinach in a dish towel and squeezing, works best. 

Mix everything together and put dough into 4-6 balls.  Taking each ball, roll out to make a rope and cut into one inch pieces.  You will see I use a special gnocchi board, but you could also use a fork or your thumb as my mother used. 

Once cut, I place on a parchment covered sheet pan and place in the fridge covered with saran. 

Boil water, add salt and gnocchi.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until they are all floating like tiny pillows on top and then for one additional minute.  I remove with a Calphalon Stainless Skimmer.  In the meantime, for the sauce, I melted a half stick of unsalted butter and added chopped basil along with salt and pepper to taste. 

I place the gnocchi on a plate and cover with the simple light sauce and then the goodness of the Parmesan cheese.  Of course, it says a half cup, but I always end up using more...

To make me feel better about my meatless meal, I added some greens as a saute. 

While this meal might look intimidating, it is quite easy to make and as I said, light tasting.  I believe we should all put a focus on eating healthier, taking better care of our planet and living longer.  My goal is to enjoy Meatless Monday's throughout the year.  Actually, if you don't feel like cooking, you can head out to a restaurant and have a meatless meal as well.  I know many restaurants have now joined the cause. 

Have a fabulous New Year and join me on Meatless Monday's!

Fino a quel momento (until that time)


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