Christmas recipes: how to make smoked potato gnocchi and toasted crostini

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We asked Chicago chefs to share their favorite holiday recipes, dishes that reflect their cultural traditions, and tell us why those recipes mean so much to them. Here’s a recipe to make at home during the holiday season or any time of the year.

Chef Jean Boudouvas

Nonnina, 340 N. Clark St.

Plate: Grilled sourdough crostini with honey whipped feta, roasted butternut squash, grilled ricotta salata, maple syrup

Plate: Smoked Potato Gnocchi, Ground Turkey, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Grilled Corn, Cherry Tomatoes and Parmesan Brodo

“It’s interesting to come from a Greek family and background and to be a chef in Italian restaurants. Greece and Italy are so close. My family likes to spin classic Italian dishes by adding a little Greek twist, like adding honey-whipped feta to a toasted sourdough crostini. There is a taste of childhood in every bite. — Chief Jean Boudouvas

Grilled sourdough crostini with honey whipped feta, roasted butternut squash, grilled ricotta salata and maple syrup

Serves: 4-6

Nonnina’s executive chef, John Boudouvas, presents his grilled sourdough crostini with honey-whipped feta, roasted butternut squash, grilled ricotta salata and maple syrup.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 (1 inch) slices sourdough bread
  • 8 ounces of feta cheese
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 3 ounces of honey
  • 3 cups diced butternut squash, cut into ½-inch-thick pieces
  • 3 ounces ricotta salata cheese
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Lightly brush bread with oil and toast. You want a nice char but not burnt.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add feta, mascarpone, honey until well blended.

4. In a large bowl, season the cut butternut squash with salt and pepper, sage and a drizzle of olive oil.

5. Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet and place in the oven until tender but still has some bite.

6. In a hot nonstick skillet with a little oil, toast the ricotta salata cheese until lightly browned on all sides and cool on a towel-lined plate, and crumble with a fork or tip of the fingers.

To assemble:

Spoon a few spoonfuls of the feta cheese mixture onto the toasted bread, top with roasted butternut squash, then grilled ricotta salata and drizzle with maple syrup.

Smoked Potato Gnocchi with Ground Turkey, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Grilled Corn, Cherry Tomatoes and Parmesan Brodo

Smoked potato gnocchi with ground turkey, roasted Brussels sprouts, charred corn, cherry tomatoes and Executive Chef John Boudouvas Parmesan brodo are served.

Smoked Potato Gnocchi with Parmesan Brodo are prepared by Executive Chef John Boudouvas.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs russet potatoes
  • 2 ½ pounds all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • salt
  • 5 lbs ground turkey
  • 3 lb Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 3 ears of corn
  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes
  • 24 oz parmesan broth
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ cup grated parmesan

Directions:

1. In a pot of salted water, boil the unpeeled potatoes until cooked through.

2. While the potatoes are still hot, peel and place the potatoes in a smoker (I prefer to use apple and cherry wood chips) and smoke for 15 minutes.

3. Pass the potatoes through a vegetable mill and place them in a mound with the flour and eggs in the middle (on a table or counter).

4. Slowly mix the eggs with the flour and potato mixture, until all the flour is incorporated and a dough forms, making sure the dough is dry and pulls away from the table.

5. Roll out dough into 3/4 inch dowels and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

6. In a pot of salted water, blanch the gnocchi until they float to the surface. Place on an oiled baking sheet and let cool.

7. In a preheated oven, roast the Brussels sprouts until golden brown and cooked through.

8. On a hot grill, cook the corn on the cob until a nice char forms.

9. Toss the cherry tomatoes in a bowl with a little oil and roast them in the oven until the skin begins to blister.

To assemble:

1. In a very hot skillet, cook the ground turkey, add the Brussels sprouts, grilled corn, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan broth and bring to a simmer.

2. Add the gnocchi to the stew in the pan, add the butter and Parmesan and season to taste. Serve in a bowl and enjoy.

Nonnina's Restaurant is located at 340 N. Clark Street.

Nonnina’s Restaurant is located at 340 N. Clark St.

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