Pumpkin Soup with Fried Sage Leaves

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Ciao from Italy everyone. I wanted to share a delicious autumn recipe with you today. I will be here until the end of October, and then I’ll head back to the US to vote in person. I have had a great time here, and I was able to shoot two chapters of my new cookbook La Fortezza Cookbook. See the recap of the summer shoot here and the autumn shoot here.

We bought all sorts of lovely fall props including a selection of amazing pumpkins. Italians love pumpkins. Who knew? I love pumpkins, too. I have an amazing pumpkin recipe coming in the new book.

But until then, I wanted to share my Italian pumpkin soup recipe. I have tons of sage in the garden, so whenever I can use it in a recipe, I do. I happen to love the taste of sage, it just says autumn to me.

It’s an easy recipe, and perfect as a Thanksgiving starter. Plus you can make it a couple of days in advance which lightens the workload on the day. Enjoy and let me know how it goes.

Pumpkin Soup with Fried Sage Leaves
Serves 4-6

You will need:
– 4-5 cups pumpkin cut into wedges, skin on (I use a small, 2-3 lb. Cinderella pumpkin or baking pumpkin)
– 3 carrots sliced
– 1 cup celery
– 1 cup chopped onion (*Note all the vegetables can be rough chunks as you will be blending them)
– 1 smashed garlic clove
– 3 tablespoons olive oil + 2 tablespoons for the pumpkin
– 1 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon salt for the pumpkin
– 2 sage leaves
– 3 cups water, or Vegetable stock
– 1/4 cup heavy cream
– 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1 lemon

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Cut the pumpkin into wedges, roughly 3-4 inch pieces. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, until pumpkin is soft with pierced. While the pumpkin is roasting, Place olive oil and carrots, celery, onion and garlic, sage, and salt into a Dutch oven. Over medium heat saute the vegetables until soft, add the water or stock. simmer about 20 minutes. Once the pumpkin is roasted, scrap the soft pumpkin flesh from the skin. Place the roasted pumpkin into the pot and remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, roughly blend the vegetables, add the nutmeg and the cream and juice of 1 lemon, blend until smooth. Place over heat for another 10 minutes on low heat. This can be made 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Fried Sage Leaves

You will need:

– 1 cup fresh sage leaves, washed and dried
– 1 cup of olive oil

Preparation:

In a heavy bottom pot, bring the oil to 325 degrees F, drop the dry leaves into the pot, fry for 2 minutes, place on a paper towel. These should be made as you warm the soup. Place the soup into bowls and garnish warm soup with 3-4 leaves.

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From the Archives:: Tortellini with Squash and Pesto

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Since I’ve been blogging and sharing recipes for so many years, there are tons of wonderful recipes in the depth of my archives. Every now and then, I do a quick search and discover a recipe that I’d forgotten about. This recipe for tortellini with squash and pesto is one of them.

I first discovered this recipe years ago when I was living in New York, so you know it’s a good one. The beauty of a dish like this is that it’s the perfect marriage of summer and fall. You might be left with an abundance of basil, squash, or even zucchini from your garden. If so, this is the recipe for you.

It’s quick yet decadent and delicious. Let me know if you give it a try!

Tortellini with Squash and Pesto 

You will need:
– 3 yellow squash cut into cubes
– 3 cloves garlic minced
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 16 oz. box tortellini pasta, either dried or fresh work great
– 1 cup toasted pine nuts
– 1 cup pesto, this can be also be prepared; I like the Cibo brand
– 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
– salt and pepper

In a large skillet, add minced garlic, oil, and cubed squash and saute until the squash is a golden brown. Meanwhile, in a large pot filled with water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the pasta water, then drain. In a large serving bowl add the cooked squash, the pesto and toasted nuts, add about 4 tablespoons of the pasta water, then add the pasta, and cheese and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and serve with extra grated cheese.

Enjoy!

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Summer Supper:: Zucchini Pasta

Zucchini Pasta

Since we are still in the thick of summer, summer veggies like squash and zucchini are still abundant, and you can easily find them at your local grocery store or farmer’s markets. I love zucchini because it’s so versatile. Zucchini can become bread, soup, or antipasto. When I want something light and satisfying yet seasonal, it’s a no brainer. I turn to zucchini and pasta.

Add a bit of garlic, good Parmesan cheese, and some truffle oil, and you’re left with a fantastic weeknight meal that screams summer. Feel free to toss in other summer vegetables too. Tomatoes from your garden would be divine!

Summer Zucchini Pasta
Serves 4

You will need:
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 3/4 pound whole-wheat dried spaghetti
– 3/4 pound zucchini sliced into coins
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 2 tablespoons minced garlic (btw I always use a micro planer to grate the fresh garlic into the oil)
– 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
– 3 tablespoons truffle oil

To Prepare:

Cut the zucchini into thin coins then put oil and grate fresh garlic into a skillet. Heat oil and garlic and add zucchini, saute on high heat until the zucchini is evenly browned. In the meantime, boil the pasta on high, until al dente. Drain and add the pasta with to the zucchini, and toss with cheese. Pull off heat and put pasta into a bowl, finish with the truffle oil, salt and pepper.

Serve hot with a nice tomato salad.

Note: I like adding truffle salt if you have it.

xx Annette

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Quick Dinners:: Tortellini with Yellow Squash and Pesto

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Going through my blog archives for great, easy dishes has been such a fun endeavor. Over the past few weeks, my goal has been to bring you simple dishes, so you don’t have to add any extra stress to your life. I stumbled upon this tortellini recipe which has been in my arsenal since I was first married. That tells you how good it really is!

Give it a try using fresh or store-bought pesto, and let me know what you think!

Tortellini with Yellow Squash and Pesto
serves 6-8

– 3 yellow squash cut into cubes
– 3 cloves garlic minced
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 16 oz. box tortellini pasta, either dried or fresh work great
– 1 cup toasted pine nuts
– 1 cup pesto (prepared is fine; I like the Cibo brand at Whole Foods)
– 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
– salt and pepper

To prepare:
In a large skillet, add minced garlic, oil, and cubed squash. Saute until the squash is a golden brown.
in a large pot filled with water cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the pasta water, then drain.

In a large serving bowl add the cooked squash, the pesto and toasted nuts. Add about 4 tablespoons of the pasta water, then add the pasta, and cheese and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and serve with extra grated cheese.

xx Annette

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Easy Flower Arranging

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While it might seem like a daunting task, arranging your own flowers can be simple yet stunning, and honestly, nothing gives me more pleasure than to arrange flowers for my own home or parties. If you follow a few easy steps, you’ll be arranging your own flowers in no time!

When beginning the design process, I start with what’s available at my local market (and even Trader Joe’s!), and I try to select a strong color theme like pink or even white. Selecting just one color flower, but choosing several varieties in that same color, is an easy way to pack a punch without a lot of thought. It honestly cuts way down on the stress, especially if you’re not quite ready for combining colors.

However, if you want to give it a go, follow these steps. For this arrangement, I selected a few colors that go well together like pink and lavender.

Step one: clean the bottom of the stems, and make a fresh cut.

Step two: place all the fillers in your container. For this arrangement, I’ve chosen a pitcher for my container, and Queen Anne’s Lace and Baby’s Breath as fillers. Pro tip: this pitcher from Ikea (one of my favs, as you know) is an ideal flower container!

Step three: add in your larger blooms. Here, that’s ranunculus and hyacinth. Be sure to work your way around the vase or pitcher. Either move around the table as you work, or spin your container to make sure your stems are even.

Step four: step back and fluff your arrangement as needed. Try to change the water every 2-3 days, and cut the stems on a diagonal every few days, too. This will keep your arrangement fresh and pretty!

xx Annette

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