It only took three gnocchi recipes, one spinach and artichoke dip and one pumpkin bisque with smoked gouda for me to finally curl up on my couch to watch college football this Saturday. It’s the type of day you dream of having in the kitchen… you know, the kind that produces results that will last you days, weeks, maybe even months depending on how long you freeze certain meals.
It started with a cooking class at Sur La Table at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale, Wisconsin. My mom, Nonni and I planned a girls afternoon for ourselves, starting with a delicious lunch at Moxie in Whitefish Bay, followed by the class. We had a terrific instructor, Elyse T., who taught us three recipes:
- Traditional Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
- Gnocchi Gnudi with Hazelnut Pesto and Goat Cheese
- Semolina Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Olives
I have to say, Sur La Table knows how to hook its students. Every ingredient is already measured out, and more importantly, you don’t have to do the cleaning afterward, because they have a team working behind the scenes to keep the kitchen tidy and organized.
Now, here’s where they really get you: the store offers a 10% discount on everything for students the rest of the day after their class. I am thoroughly convinced it’s impossible to leave the class without buying something there. I feel like a kid in a candy shop every time I set foot in the store. I walked away this time with a beautiful white marble cutting board, a lemon squeezer and a new dish towel. I’ve already used each item and love them.
Oh, and how could I forget the best part?! I signed up for another cooking class at a $20 discount. That’s right, this fall-obsessed blogger will be learning how to make a modern Thanksgiving meal. Sur La Table is partnering up with my favorite food magazine, Bon Appétit, to make the following recipes:
- Figs with Bacon and Chile
- Easy Roast Turkey with No-Roux Gravy
- Blistered Green Beans with Tomato-Almond Pesto
- Duchess Baked Potatoes
- Pumpkin-Caramel Tart with Toasted Hazelnut Crust
You’re getting hungry just reading this, right? Because I’m certainly getting hungry typing this.
Anyway, once I returned home, I went straight into the kitchen, glancing over at the IU @ MSU game between measurements for a cheesy spinach artichoke dip from the blog, A Little Colorful Chaos. I’m disappointed to say the Hoosiers lost, but hey, at least I got to drown my sorrows in chips and dip.
Now, for the part you were probably waiting for: the pumpkin bisque with smoked gouda. After trying multiple pumpkin soup recipes over the last few weeks, this was absolutely the winner, hands down. Even the boyfriend, who admits he’s not that into pumpkin recipes (I know, it’s tragic!), asked me to make this one again.
So, without further delay, here it is:
- 4 bacon strips, chopped (NOTE: I did not want bacon, so I used 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil instead. See recipe instructions below for details)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (NOTE: If grating, as I did, use 3 1/2 or 4 cloves)
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup shredded Gouda cheese
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Additional shredded Gouda cheese, optional
WITH BACON: Cook four strips of bacon over medium heat in a dutch oven. Once they get crisp, take out the bacon and place on paper towels. Set aside. Keep 1 tablespoon of the remaining drippings in the dutch oven. WITHOUT BACON: Heat up 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil.
Saute the onion in the drippings (or grapeseed oil) until tender. Add garlic and cook for roughly another minute. Pour in the broth and pumpkin pure, then stir in the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, allowing the ingredients to simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.
Turn off the stove and let the dutch oven cool slightly. Pour batches of the soup into a blender (an emulsifying stick works as well) and process the soup to eliminate chunks of onion.
Return it all to the dutch oven, and pour in the heavy cream. Then, add the cheese, stirring until it’s melted into the soup.
Garnish with parsley and more shreds of gouda.
The recipe comes out to roughly 9 servings. I know with the winter weather fast approaching, I’m going to have days where I just want to curl up on the couch with a hot drink or soup after getting home from work, so I froze roughly half the batch of soup to save for a snowy day.