BLT – Bacon & Tomato Pie served w/ a lettuce salad

August, 2013 update -- I just made this pie for supper using Vicky's No-Roll Pie Crust (I cut out the sugar but wouldn't hurt if it was left in as tomatoes are technically a fruit and some people season them with sugar); because it's a no-roll crust, I omitted the decorative pie crust toppers. I also blanched the tomatoes and removed the skins on this season's thick-skinned tomatoes.

     The last of our garden tomatoes and fresh herbs went into this flavorful pie that contains two of the components of the traditional BLT sandwich. I served a lettuce salad on the side and Barry was impressed. He loved the combination of flavors and I love about anything encased in crisp, flaky pie crust.

Bacon & Tomato Pie   4 to 6 servings
Bacon-Tomato Pie w/ lettuce salad.
1 (9”) unbaked pie shell, homemade or purchased
About 3 medium tomatoes, cut into ¼” slices
Kosher salt & pepper to taste
8 to 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled  
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise  
1 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or about 1 teaspoon dried
 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil or about ½ teaspoon dried

1. Prick the pie crust and bake at 475° for 8 to 10 minutes – it should be lightly browned. Cool.
2. Place tomatoes in the prebaked crust; add a layer of bacon and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, mayonnaise and herbs.

4. Spoon mayo mixture over bacon.
After spreading the mayo mixture over the top, I added tomato-shaped cut-outs made from the extra pie dough. (See photo and explanation below)
5. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown (cover edges with foil if necessary to prevent over browning). 
I used a pie lift to remove the baked pie from the oven. (See additional photos of the pie lift and explanations at this bottom of this post.)
Recipe without photos . . .
Bacon & Tomato Pie   4 to 6 servings
1 (9”) unbaked pie shell, homemade or purchased
About 3 medium tomatoes, cut into ¼” slices
Kosher salt & pepper to taste
8 to 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled  
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise  
1 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or about 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil or about ½ teaspoon dried

1. Prick the pie crust and bake at 475° for 8 to 10 minutes – it should be lightly browned. Cool.
2. Place tomatoes in the prebaked crust; add a layer of bacon and add salt and pepper to taste.
3. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, mayonnaise and herbs
4. Spoon mayo mixture over bacon.
5. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown (cover edges with foil if necessary to prevent over browning). 

PIE TOPPERS from left over pie crust . . .
I re-rolled extra pie dough and used a mini tomato-shaped cookie cutter to make pie toppers.
 PIE LIFT
We actually saw one of these pie lifts at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Seemed like such a handy device that Barry created one for our kitchen.

Butternut Gnocchi – these little squash & potato dumplings are irresistible!


We served our gnocchi w/ marinated pork tenderloin.

     Focus on the finished product, NOT the steps required to make this recipe! Yes, it is time consuming but it is really good.
     When I first noticed this recipe in the October 2010 issue of Bon Appétit I was intrigued and then when I noticed that it came from Lidia Bastianich (chef, television host, author, and restaurateur), I was determined to give it a try.
     I’ve made it just a couple of times since so do not claim to be a gnocchi expert. Just follow the instructions (and perhaps check out an online video or two,) and I think you’ll be pleased with the resulting dish! Gnocchi, an Italian pasta substitute is generally made from potatoes but the addition of butternut squash really boosts the flavor and adds to the nutritional value as well.

How do you pronounce gnocchi? The "gno" makes a "nyo" sound with a silent "g". The "cch" is pronounced as a hard "k". The "i" is an "ee" sound as in "tree". "nyo kee"Gnocchi is the plural form of the word. The singular is "gnocco." So you might order a plate of gnocchi and savor each delicious gnocco on that plate. 
Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Makes 6 servings
Bon Appétit  | October 2010  by Lidia Bastianich
active time: 1 hour 45 minutes /total time: 4 hours (includes chilling time)
For perfect gnocchi, don't work the dough too much and add as little flour as possible. It's okay if the dough is a little sticky.

Ingredients
1 (1 lb.) butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (12 to 14 oz.) russet potato, peeled, quartered
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1¾  cups (or more) all purpose flour
½  cup (1 stick) butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Additional grated Parmesan cheese

Special equipment: Potato ricer

Preparation
Squash
1.     Preheat oven to 400°F.
2.     Cut squash lengthwise in half; discard seeds. Place squash halves, cut side up, on baking sheet and brush with oil.
3.     Roast until squash is very tender when pierced with skewer and browned in spots, about 1 to 1½  hours.
4.     Cool slightly. Scoop flesh from squash into processor; puree until smooth.
The roasted squash is tender and easy to remove from the shell.
5.     Transfer to medium saucepan; stir constantly over medium heat until juices evaporate and puree thickens, about 5 minutes.
6.     Cool. Measure 1 cup (packed) squash puree (reserve remaining squash for another use).

Potatoes
7.     Meanwhile, cook potato in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
8.     While potato is warm, press through potato ricer into medium bowl; cool completely.
9.     Measure 2 cups (loosely packed) riced potato (reserve remaining potato for another use).
The riced potatoes have been measured and are ready to add to the dough.
Dough, making & shaping
10.  Mix squash, potato, ½ cup Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, and salt in large bowl.
11.  Gradually add 1¾ cups flour, kneading gently into mixture in bowl until dough holds together and is almost smooth. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls.
Mixing the dough. 
The dough is ready to knead.
12.  Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead gently but briefly just until smooth.
13.  Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.
A bench knife is a great tool for dividing dough.
14.  Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Sprinkle parchment lightly with flour.
15.  Working with 1 dough piece at a time, roll dough out on floured surface to about ½ “ thick rope.
I rolled out the rope shapes on a marble surface.
16.  Cut rope crosswise into ¾” pieces.

17.  Working with 1 piece at a time, roll gnocchi along back of fork tines dipped in flour, making ridges on 1 side. Some Italian chefs don’t bother with the tine marks and some run the tines across more than just one side as in this You-Tube video
18.  Transfer gnocchi to baking sheets.
The ridges (created by a fork) help trap sauce.
19.  Repeat with remaining dough.
20.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

Cooking gnocchi (cook immediately or see note below on freezing)
21.  Working in 2 batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, 15 to 17 minutes (gnocchi will float to surface but may come to surface before being fully cooked).
A few of the gnocchi are starting to float to the surface.
22.  Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to same parchment-lined baking sheets. Cool.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover loosely and chill.
Sauce
23.  Cook butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat just until golden, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes.
24.  Add sage; stir 1 minute.

25.  Add gnocchi; cook until heated through and coated with butter, 5 to 7 minutes.
26.  Season with salt and pepper.
27.  Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan.

Or, Freeze cooked gnocchi (in single layer – pieces should not touch) on baking sheets until firm.  Transfer to freezer bags and freeze, up to 1 month.  Add slightly thawed gnocchi to sauce and proceed as directed above.

Recipe without photos . . .
Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Makes 6 servings
Bon Appétit  | October 2010  by Lidia Bastianich
active time: 1 hour 45 minutes /total time: 4 hours (includes chilling time)
For perfect gnocchi, don't work the dough too much and add as little flour as possible. It's okay if the dough is a little sticky.

Ingredients
1 (1 lb.) butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (12 to 14 oz.) russet potato, peeled, quartered
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1¾  cups (or more) all purpose flour
½  cup (1 stick) butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Additional grated Parmesan cheese

Special equipment: Potato ricer

Preparation
Squash
1.     Preheat oven to 400°F.
2.     Cut squash lengthwise in half; discard seeds. Place squash halves, cut side up, on baking sheet and brush with oil.
3.     Roast until squash is very tender when pierced with skewer and browned in spots, about 1 to 1½  hours.
4.     Cool slightly. Scoop flesh from squash into processor; puree until smooth
5.     Transfer to medium saucepan; stir constantly over medium heat until juices evaporate and puree thickens, about 5 minutes.
6.     Cool. Measure 1 cup (packed) squash puree (reserve remaining squash for another use).
Potatoes
7.     Meanwhile, cook potato in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
8.     While potato is warm, press through potato ricer into medium bowl; cool completely.
9.     Measure 2 cups (loosely packed) riced potato (reserve remaining potato for another use).
Dough, making & shaping
10.  Mix squash, potato, ½ cup Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, and salt in large bowl.
11.  Gradually add 1¾ cups flour, kneading gently into mixture in bowl until dough holds together and is almost smooth. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls.
12.  Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead gently but briefly just until smooth.
13.  Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.
14.  Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Sprinkle parchment lightly with flour.
15.  Working with 1 dough piece at a time, roll dough out on floured surface to about ½ “ thick rope.
16.  Cut rope crosswise into ¾” pieces.
17.  Working with 1 piece at a time, roll gnocchi along back of fork tines dipped in flour, making ridges on 1 side.  
18.  Transfer gnocchi to baking sheets.
19.  Repeat with remaining dough.
20.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
Cooking gnocchi (cook immediately or see note below on freezing)
21.  Working in 2 batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, 15 to 17 minutes (gnocchi will float to surface but may come to surface before being fully cooked).
22.  Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to same parchment-lined baking sheets. Cool.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover loosely and chill.
Sauce
23.  Cook butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat just until golden, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes.
24.  Add sage; stir 1 minute.
25.  Add gnocchi; cook until heated through and coated with butter, 5 to 7 minutes.
26.  Season with salt and pepper.
27.  Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan.

Or, Freeze cooked gnocchi (in single layer – pieces should not touch) on baking sheets until firm.  Transfer to freezer bags and freeze, up to 1 month.  Add slightly thawed gnocchi to sauce and proceed as directed above.