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RECIPE: Pasta For Breakfast & Brunch

Gnocchi for breakfast? It’s a pasta lover’s delight.

Eggs, tomatoes, pesto and cheese create an Italian breakfast bake‚—so good and versatile that you can serve it for lunch and dinner, too (photo #1).

Thanks to DeLallo for the recipe. You can purchase authentic Italian ingredients on the DeLallo website, including a kit to make your own gnocchi from scratch.

We bought ours ready-to-cook, but here’s a gnocchi recipe to make without the kit.

Whatever meal you choose, serve the gnocchi bake with a side salad, lightly dressed in vinaigrette.

Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 package (16 ounces) potato gnocchi or potato & cheese gnocchi
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup basil pesto
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F and grease a 9-by-9-inch square pan.

    2. BRING a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

    3. WHISK together the eggs, milk, salt, and pesto. Place the gnocchi in the prepared pan and cover with the egg mixture. Drop heaping spoonsful of ricotta onto the mixture, placing them as evenly as possible throughout the pan.

    4. PLACE the tomatoes between dollops of ricotta. Sprinkle with the parmesan and bake until the eggs are completely set and starting to brown, about 30 minutes.

    5. REMOVE from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

    A classic Italian pasta, these pillowy potato dumplings (photo #3) delight many pasta lovers.

    The word “gnocchi” (pronounced N’YAW-kee) has an unknown origin, but it may have derived from the Italian word nocca, meaning knuckle.

    Another possibility is the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood.

    Gnocchi has been a traditional type of Italian pasta—the shape is probably of Middle Eastern origin—since Roman times. It was introduced by the Roman legions during the expansion of the empire into the countries of the European continent.

    In Roman times, gnocchi were made from a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs [source].

    Gnocchi were the perfect peasant food, both filling and inexpensive. Before the potato version was created, gnocchi were made with ingredients such as breadcrumbs and squash.

    The use of potato is a relatively recent innovation, occurring after the introduction of the potato to Europe in the 16th century (it was one of the food discoveries in the New World).


    Gnocchi Breakfast Bake
    [1] Gnocchi and eggs for breakfast (photos #1 and #2 © DeLallo).

    DeLallo Potato Gnocchi
    [2] You can purchase ready-to-cook gnocchi, or make your own from scratch with this kit from DeLallo.

    Raw Gnocchi
    [3] Pillowy gnocchi, ready to cook (photo © Neco Garnicia | SXC).

    Potato gnocchi originated in Northern Italy, where the colder climate was better for growing potatoes than grain. (In fact, a lot of heartier Italian cuisine, including polenta and risotto, originated in Northern Italy.) [source]

    While gnocchi are dumplings, we like to include them in the group called pillow pasta, stuffed with a pillowy filling. (Ravioli is a pillow pasta. What other varieties can you name? Click the link.)

    Introduced to different regions of Italy, gnocchi became made variously of semolina, potato or sweet potato; with optional cheese or eggs added to the dough; and optionally flavored with basil, saffron, spinach or tomato. Today, pumpkin is an option.

    The most common way to prepare gnocchi today is to combine mashed potatoes with flour, although modern variations add different cheeses—goat, gorgonzola, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano. In addition to the flavors noted above, creative chefs make gnocchi in beet, butternut squash, carrot, sweet potato and other flavors.

    They can be served mixed with vegetables (asparagus, broccoli rabe, cherry tomatoes mushrooms, peas, spinach, etc.) and proteins (chicken, clams, ham, pancetta, sausage).

    Depending on their flavor, gnocchi pair with many sauces, from simple butter and parmesan or tomato to oxtail or pork ragù. One of our favorites is brown butter with crispy fried sage.

    Is it time to expand your gnocchi horizons?



    TIP OF THE DAY: Warm Or Hot Potato Salad

    Hot Asian Potato Salad With Shishito Peppers
    [1] Warm potato salad Japanese-style. The recipe is below (photo © Idaho Potato Commission).

    Shishito Peppers
    [2] Hot, but not too hot, shishito peppers (photo © Spoon Fork Bacon).

    Shichimi Togarashi
    [3] Shichimi togarashi is the Japanese seven spice blend. Here’s more about it (photo © Colourbox).

    Grated Ginger
    [4] Grated ginger (photo © Luxury Travel Thailand).

    Fingerling Potatoes
    [5] Fingerling potatoes (photo © The Roasted Root).


    While cold potato salad rules the summer, the cool weather calls for warm potato salad.

    Warm potato salad combines sliced potatoes, often with vegetables. They bypass the mayo and dairy dressings (buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt) for a warm vinaigrette:

  • Bacon vinaigrette
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Mustard vinaigrette or vinaigrette recipe of choice
    The best-known of the warm potato salads is the Southern German potato salad that is served with sausages and other meats.

    It layers the flavors with red onions, chives or scallions, parsley and dill in a mustard vinaigrette.
    While warm potato salad is a dinner side, you can certainly serve it with a sandwich or a burger at lunch—warm or cold from the fridge.

    September is National Potato Month, so start cooking those spuds*!

    This recipe was developed for the Idaho Potato Commission by Cheryl Bennett of Pooks Pantry.


  • 2 pounds Idaho® fingerling potatoes
  • 4 ounces shishito peppers (photo #2)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons shichimi togarashi (photo #3)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • Salt & pepper to taste

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Wash the potatoes and slice them in half lengthwise.

    2. TOSS the potatoes in a medium bowl with the canola, shichimi togarashi, shishito peppers and a pinch of salt and pepper.

    3. LAY the potatoes on a parchment-lined sheet pan and roast until they are easily pierced with a knife (30 minutes). Meanwhile…

    4. MELT the butter and add the grated ginger to it. Let it sit to infuse the flavor while the potatoes are roasting.

    5. REMOVE the potatoes from the oven when they are done, and let them cool enough to handle. Toss them in the ginger butter and serve warm.

    You can buy shichimi togarashi as a blended spice mix (photo #3), or make your own.

    A seven-ingredient spice blend, shichi means “seven” in Japanese, togarashi is red pepper.


  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon ground red chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon flaked nori
  • 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

    1. GRIND the ingredients together to a coarse consistency. Store in an airtight container.

  • Baked Fully Loaded Potato Salad
  • Beer-Roasted Potato Salad
  • Corned Beef & Cabbage Potato Salad
  • Create Your Own Warm Potato Salad Recipe
  • Dinner Potato Salad With Sirloin & Green Beans
  • German Potato Salad With Bacon Vinaigrette
  • Green Bean & Potato Salad
  • Grilled Potato Salad With Bacon, Corn & Jalapeño
  • Grilled Potato Salad With Blue Cheese & Bacon</li>
  • Grilled Potato salad With Hot Dogs
  • Ratatouille Potato Salad
  • Green Bean & Potato Salad
  • Warm Potato Salad & Acorn Squash
  • Warm Potato Salad With Bacon & Arugula
  • ________________

    *Why are potatoes called spuds?

    Among other definitions, a spud is a sharp, narrow spade used to dig up large rooted plants, like potatoes. Around the mid-19th century, farmers began using the term as slang to refer to potatoes themselves [source].




    TIP OF THE DAY: The Magic Of Mushrooms & Mushroom Recipes

    We refer not to the hallucinogen psilocybin mushrooms—we’ve never been anywhere near one.

    September is National Mushroom Month—that means mushrooms in cuisine.

    We find culinary magic in the variety of culinary mushrooms available year-round.

    Why are they magic?

  • They can be served anytime, from breakfast to lunch to dinner.
  • They fit into everything savory, from a delicate crêpe to a hearty stew.
  • They’re packed with nutrients like niacin, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, and vitamin D.
  • The hearty vegetables are low in calories and fat and cholesterol free.
  • Some of them, like portabellas (portobellos), can substitute for meat.
  • They’re economical.
  • They help us cut back on Earth-unfriendly meat, on Meatless Mondays and beyond.
    Mushrooms provide a texture comparable to meat. Whether exchanging just a portion of meat or replacing it altogether, mushrooms are an excellent mix-in or vegetarian alternative for everything from burgers, meatballs, sloppy joes, even tacos.
    We’re not just talking white button mushrooms and portabellas. Check out our Mushroom Glossary to discover many delectable mushroom types.

  • Eggs: From crêpes and omelets to sides with a scramble. You can even chop them into deviled eggs. And check out the mushroom toast (recipe) in photo #1.
  • Lunch: Swap your usual sandwich lunch meat with grilled portabellas. Pile on lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, etc. We often make chicken-mushroom lettuce cups or wraps, like the the one in photo #2.
  • Appetizers: Think of mushrooms in your crudités assortment, fried mushrooms, and mushroom tartlets. Stuffed mushrooms are a perennial favorite, filled with anything you like (consider bacon, bread crumbs, cheese, sausage and scallions, for starters).
  • Mains: In addition to casseroles and risottos, add them hearty soups and stews, and top pasta and pizza with lots of ‘shrooms.
  • Gravies and sauces: Mushroom gravy works with any meat and poultry dish, with eggs, biscuits, potatoes and more.
  • Salads: Add to any grain salad, to pasta salad and to grains.
  • Sides: Polenta topped with sautéed mushrooms is a natural. Sautéed mushrooms are addictive, especially with a splash of red wine. Marinated mushrooms and red onions are a treat. And don’t forget mushrooms in your stuffing.
  • Sautés: How about a mixed vegetable sauté? Morels and other wild mushrooms pair famously with both asparagus and leeks, and with seasonal vegetables in every season.
  • Soups There are many ways to prepare mushroom soup, from vegetarian and vegan to garnished with bacon or sausage. Here’s how to enhance canned soup.
  • Stews: Adding mushroom to stews enhances both heartiness and veggie content.
  • Garnishes: Mushrooms are flavor-enhancing toppers for chicken, fish, steaks and chops, salads and soups. In addition to flavor, they add an extra serving of vegetables to your day.

  • Asparagus & Mushroom Pasta
  • Bacon-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
  • Breakfast Tarts With Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
  • Chanterelle Tacos
  • Different Stuffings For Portabellas
  • Egg & Mushroom Recipes
  • Green Bean & Mushroom Gratin
  • Grilled Eggplant, Mushrooms & Zucchini
  • Grilled Portabella First Course
  • Grilled Portabella Main Course
  • Mushroom Carpaccio & Raw Mushroom Salad
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Mushroom-Stuffed Cheeseburgers
  • Mushroom Toast (photo #1)
  • Mushroom Appetizers
  • Mushroom Bread Pudding
  • Portabella Burgers, Mains & Sides
  • Portabella Steak & Salad
  • Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Zucchini, Mushroom & Onion Side
    Mushrooms For Dessert

    Yes, you can even have mushrooms for dessert! Check out these recipes from:

  • Bon Appetit (photo #5)
  • Forest Mushrooms
  • Houston Chronicle
  • Mushrooms Canada
    There are many more online.

    Hmmm…maybe we need a mushroom dessert festival?


    Mushroom Toast
    [1] Breakfast: mushroom toast. Who needs avocados when you can have sautéed mushrooms atop spinach or chard, topped with shaved parmesan? Here’s the recipe (photo © Edwards Dessert Kitchen | Minneapolis)

    Mushroom & Chicken Teriyaki Lettuce Cups
    [2] Lunch: mushroom and chicken teriyaki lettuce cups. Mushrooms substitute for half of the chicken component (photo © The Mushroom Council).

    Mushroom Stroganoff
    [3] Dinner: Mushrooms mixed with pasta cut your carbs by one-third or one-half (photo © Sun Basket).

    Poached Fish In Mushroom Broth
    [4] Dinner: Poached fish (here, cod) in a mushroom broth with mixed mushrooms, asparagus and fava beans (photo © Le Bernardin | NYC).

    Mushroom Dessert
    [5] Dessert: A mushroom-chocolate brûlée from Chef Nir Mesika at Timna Restaurant in New York City. The chef describes it as “a funky, almost caramel-like porcini brûlée topped with honey-sage ice cream and Tonka bean meringue.” Here’s more about it (photo © Alex Lau | Bon Appetit Magazine).




    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Cleveland Kraut & Ways To Serve Sauerkraut

    Foods With Sauerkraut
    [1] Sauerkraut with beef, burgers, hot dogs, salmon and sandwiches (photos #1 to #4 © Cleveland Kraut).

    Beet Sauerkraut
    [2] Beet Red Cleveland Kraut, made with red cabbage, beets and cabbage. Try it with hot dogs, meat dishes and salads paired with goat cheese.

    Kimchi-Like Sauerkraut
    [3] Green cabbage, green bell peppers, jalapeños, leeks, red chiles, sriracha and seasonings make Gnar Gnar a match with egg dishes, rice, salads and tacos.

    Whiskey Infused Sauerkraut
    [4] This “spirited” kraut combines fresh garlic and dill with barrel-aged whiskey, which adds a subtle sweetness to each batch. Pair it with chicken, salads and sandwiches.

    Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake
    [5] Did you say sauerkraut cake? “People might need some coaxing to try it,” said someone who made the recipe, “but once they do, they will love it.” Here’s the recipe (photo © Taste Of Home).


    Sauerkraut is one of our colleague Laura’s favorite foods. Her family has made it for generations and love it so much, they eat it from the jar.

    We created a sauerkraut dinner menu for her—6 courses selected from these 40 sauerkraut recipes—using our Top Pick Of The Week:

    Cleveland Kraut sauerkraut, a terrific line of flavored krauts: raw, unpasteurized and lacto-fermented.

    If you like plain sauerkraut, you’ll likely be thrilled with Cleveland Kraut’s flavored krauts. All start with green cabbage (except for Beet Red, which uses red cabbage), then deftly add seasonings.

    Flavors—each deliciously flavorful and crunchy—include:

  • Beet Red (photo #2)
  • Cabbage & Cukes
  • Classic Caraway (the traditional Bavarian style)
  • Curry Kraut
  • Gnar Gnar† (photo #3—kraut’s answer to kimchi, with green bell peppers, jalapeños, leeks, sriracha, garlic and red chilis)
  • Whiskey Dill (photo #4—with barrel-aged whiskey)

    Sauerkraut is one of a group of fermented foods that is full of natural probiotics, nutrients and flavor*.

    Here’s a review of the nutrition and health benefits.

    Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir offer many health benefits. They restore gut health, support our immune system and help us to better absorb nutrients.

    Whether it’s sauerkraut in Germany, kimchi in Asia (especially Korea), cortido (or curtido) in Central America or choucroute in France, fermented cabbage is consumed wherever cabbage is grown.

    All you need to ferment it is salt. At the correct level of salinity and at the proper temperature, cabbage will ferment into sauerkraut.

    The addition of vinegar is looked upon with contempt by makers of “true” sauerkraut, who declare that it’s used only by those who don’t take the time to go through a full fermentation process and want a cheap and quick way to achieve acidity.

    Several different bacteria are at work during this process. The most often cited probiotic bacterium associated with sauerkraut is Lactobacillus plantarum.

    With supermarket sauerkraut, note: Many commercial fermented cabbage products have been pasteurized. The heat destroys the friendly bacteria as well as the harmful ones. For probiotic benefits, seek out raw/unpasteurized kraut.

    Another benefit: Unlike pasteurized kraut, raw kraut is crunchy.

    If you want to make your own, here’s how.

    Whether you buy it or make it, save the liquid—it’s a great tenderizer in a marinade, or good in a salad dressing.

    Whether you make it or buy it, use it with.

  • Avocado toast, filled avocado halves.
  • Cold cuts and charcuterie.
  • Condiment: Stir a bit into ketchup, mayo or plain yogurt for more of a zing. Use it on anything from burgers and hot dogs (photo #1) and other sandwiches, from avocado toast to grilled cheese to Reubens.
  • Chicken dishes.
  • Eggs: omelets, in a scramble, as a side, or mixed into deviled egg filling.
  • Fish dishes: as a side, in a sauce (photo #1).
  • Green salad or grain bowl.
  • Hot dogs (photo #1), brats and other sausages: a given. But imagine them with Cleveland Kraut’s Curry, Roasted Garlic or Whiskey Kraut.
  • Pierogies, with or without sour cream.
  • Pork chops, loin, pulled pork, Asian-style ribs.
  • Rice dishes.
  • Sides: plain, with caraway seeds, or with cubes of your favorite vegetables. Don’t forget the mushrooms and onions..
  • Soups & Stews: to punch up flavor.
  • Taco topping, burrito condiment.
  • And beyond: dips, meatballs, potato pancakes potato skins, stuffed cabbage, summer rolls, vegetable sushi and so much more—even chocolate cake (photo #5). Check out these recipes.

    Ready to dig in?

    Shop online at, or if you’re in the Cleveland area, check out the store locator.


    *Here’s more on yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, brined olives and other foods that are probiotic.

    †The company named this spicy flavor Gnar Gnar for gnarly, a word the Urban Dictionary defines as “beyond radical, beyond extreme.” Cleveland Kraut calls it Cleveland’s answer to kimchi.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Serve Polenta (Gluten-Free Comfort Food)

    Fall reminds us of polenta, a comfort food from Italy, served hot. (It’s comforting like mashed potatoes.)

    Polenta is cornmeal (photo #1) that is often boiled served as breakfast porridge (here’s the difference between grits and polenta).

    Its versatility allows it to be incorporated into mains and sides for lunch and dinner.

    You can also slice it and use it as a base for appetizers or hors d’oeuvre.

    That’s because when polenta cools, it solidifies into a loaf (photo #2) that can sliced and baked, fried, or grilled.

    Polenta—which is both the Italian word for cornmeal and a cooked dish made from it—has become familiar in America through Italian and Continental restaurants.

    But it’s not new to America.

    For the first two centuries on the continent, American diets contained much cornmeal: in bread, as breakfast porridge, as a side starch, and in other recipes.

    Paradoxically, corn, which is native to the Americas, was shipped to Europe, where Italians turned it into polenta.

    Back in the Americas, except for the Southern region, cornmeal was gradually replaced in American diets by refined wheat flour (note that milled polenta is not a whole grain).
    Is Polenta Gluten Free?

    Polenta is naturally gluten-free (the only grains that do naturally contain gluten are barley, rye and wheat).

    Since so many other grains are processed in facilities that also handle these latter grains, however, some varieties of polenta may become contaminated with trace amounts of gluten.

    Some brands of polenta print “gluten-free” directly onto their product labels for easy identification. Others don’t.

    To be certain, check the label carefully for allergy information or a statement such as, “Produced in a facility that also handles wheat, rye or barley.”

    Such a statement doesn’t mean cross-contamination has occurred, but it does increase the likelihood.
    Polenta Nutrition

    For most of history, polenta was grains of ground cornmeal that were stirred into boiling water until the grains plumped into a cooked cereal.

    But with the advance of milling methods, it became more efficient to process the cornmeal.

    While corn itself is a whole grain, polenta is refined: It is degerminated cornmeal, which has the germ and endosperm—(which contain the fiber and other nutrition—removed.

    As with all refined grains, including white rice, the majority of the grains we consume have left their protein, iron and vitamins on the factory floor.

    You can make polenta from scratch, or buy it in rolls, available in most supermarkets (photo #2).

    The latter makes it easy to create stacked appetizers and sides. It’s available in plain plus flavors such as basil-garlic and sundried tomato.
    We have to add a note here, that while we regularly buy all three, the flavor impact of the basil and the sundried tomato versions is not truly discernable. Note to Ancient Harvest: Add more flavor!

    The only limit is your creativity.
    While it pairs delightfully with meat, poultry and seafood, polenta is a great canvas for vegetarian and vegan dishes. Try it for your next Meatless Monday.

    In addition to breakfast polenta—both as porridge and fried and served with eggs, we regularly serve it:

  • With a grilled vegetable plate.
  • In a “Polenta Caprese” salad, adding to, or instead of, tomato or mozzarella.
  • Polenta Parmesan, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella, melted, then garnished with diced fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

  • Chili & Polenta Savory Cobbler
  • Garden Ratatouille With Crispy Rosemary Polenta & Stuffed Pork Chops
  • Gorgonzola Polenta Bites
  • Grilled Polenta & Cliantro Appetizer
  • Grilled Polenta Kabobs (photo #2)
  • Grilled Polenta Skewers With Peach BBQ Sauce, an appetizer or snack
  • Mojo Verde Polenta Bites
  • Polenta Appetizer Stacks and many more polenta recipes
  • Polenta Breakfast Bowl (photo #3)
  • Polenta Casserole With Sweet Potatoes & Garden Vegetables
  • Polenta Crostini With Shrimp & Grits
  • Polenta Eggs Benedict (polenta instead of the English muffin)
  • Polenta Lasagna With Spinach, Butternut Squash & Quinoa (polenta substitutes for the noodles)
  • Polenta Pesto Lasagna
  • Polenta Pizza Bites, an appetizer or snack
  • Polenta With Beets, an appetizer or light lunch
  • Ratatouille With Crispy Polenta
  • Smoked Paprika Shrimp With Poblano Polenta & Red Pepper-Agave Sauce
  • Sweet Potato Polenta Bake, a cheesy vegetarian main
  • Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie With A Polenta Top Crust

  • Blueberry Polenta Cake (photo #6)
  • Olive Oil Polenta Cake for dessert!
  • Polenta Cookies)

    Heirloom Polenta
    [1] Organic yellow polenta made from heirloom corn, from Anson Mills. The company also sells white polenta from heirloom white corn (photo © Anson Mills).

    Ancient Harvest Polenta
    [2] Polenta Kabobs made with refrigerator-case polenta. Here’s the recipe from Ancient Harvest (photo © Ancient Harvest).

    Polenta Breakfast Bowl
    [3] Polenta for breakfast or brunch, in a beautiful bowl with eggs, vegetables and cheese (the polenta is hiding underneath the toppings). Here’s the recipe from DeLallo (photo © DeLallo).

    Polenta Mushroom Casserole
    [4] Polenta Mushroom Casserole for lunch or dinner. Here’s the recipe from Oh My Veggies. (photo © Oh My Veggies.

    Polenta & Beets
    [5] Polenta appetizer with beets. Here’s the recipe from Blue Diamond (photo © Blue Diamond).

    Blueberry Polenta Cake
    [6] Ready for dessert? Here’s the recipe for this Blueberry Polenta Cake (photo © The Blueberry Council).




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