Lesson 3: ¡Más Pasta!

First, an admission: some of the stuff we're learning- though important- isn't blog-worthy. On Tuesday, for instance, we boiled vegetables, which evoked images of Oliver Twist slurping watery cabbage soup in Dickensian London.

Fortunately, yesterday's pasta class put the spice back in our spoonulas.

Entering into the "food fight" between Jessica Seinfeld and other "sneaky" moms has proven to be dangerous business. But this week, we learned a few techniques that could enhance Mrs. Seinfeld's repertoire of  cauliflower scrambled eggs and chocolate beet cake.

We made two more types of gnocchi delight, and this time we livened up the doughs with spinach and winter squash.

The technique, however, is essentially the same. In the case of the spinach, we dried it out by sautéing it in butter. And we roasted the squash in the oven before mixing in the egg yolk and flour.

We funkified the shapes, too. The spinach "gnocchi" were heaping, rounded tablespoons plopped into boiling water. The finished product, covered with cheese and baked in the oven briefly, looked like the one pictured below. And they were OVERWHELMINGLY delicious- puffy and not too spinachy- as evidenced by the fact that there were 15 more on the plate about 30 seconds before I took this picture:

The squash dough required to most fun technique we've learned to date...
...squirting droplets of dough from this pastry bag- which they call una manga- directly into the pot. They come out looking like mini Chik-Fil-A chicken nuggets and tasting slightly sweet and crunchy.

We made two tomato-based sauces to accompany our veggie-laden pasta. For the spinach gnocchi, we made a simple tomato sauce, with diced carrot, onion, garlic and basil.

Our other sauce called for a review of our knife skills- the ellipse!- and also had more complex flavors- white wine, anchovies, black olives and capers- thrown into the mix.

All in all, two more deceptively easy meals that, though veggie-laden, still feel like comfort food. Even the Soup Nazi would approve.

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