I bought Jamie Oliver’s new book “Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals” when I was back in the UK. I’m awful for buying new cook books, reading them then leaving them on the shelf, so my new year’s resolution is to cook from one book a month and try two recipes a week from it. So far I love everything I’ve made from this book. He brings the recipes in under 15 minutes by being very organised and cooking various elements of the dishes in parallel which fits with how I like to cook. Where I fell down was that I like to tidy up as I go and minimise the number pans and gadgets I use. Even with me tidying as I went and cutting out some the time-saving gadgets I still made every recipe I’ve tried so far in under 30 minutes. Still pretty speedy in my book.
The recipe below was a hit with my whole family and the leftover gnocchi were great with a simple tomato sauce alongside some arugula (rocket) salad the next day. Not just one meal in 15 (more like 30) minutes but two!
Butternut Squash Soup with Chestnut Gnocchi, Bacon and Sage
Active prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes
1 bunch spring onions (scallions)
4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 fresh red chilli (I actually used a pinch of red chilli flakes instead)
1 chicken stock cube
1 small butternut squash
3 medium carrots
1 can of cannellini beans
Gnocchi and toppings
1 pack of vac-packed chestnuts (I use Merchant Gourmet in the UK, Trader Joes in the US)
Equal weight of plain flour to the weight of the chestnuts (I used spelt flour)
1 chicken stock cube
8 rashers smoked pancetta, streaky bacon or a pack of prosciutto
10 fresh sage leaves
- Start by getting all your ingredients out, your kettle boiled, a food processor and a stick blender or liquidiser. You will need to put a large lidded pan on the stove to start heating and to get a medium lidded pan and a frying pan out too. Having everything out at the start will speed you up later.
- Trim the ends from your spring onions and chop them in half before throwing them in the food processor with the rosemary leaves, chilli and stock cube. Blitz then scrape into the large pan with a teaspoon of olive oil.
- Heat the frying pan on a medium heat and lay the bacon or pancetta in it to slowly cook and crisp while you are making everything else. It is easy to crumble the crispy bacon once it is cooked rather than worry about cutting it raw.
- Cut the end off the squash, remove the seeds and roughly chop (into 2 inch chunks) then put in the food processor in 2-3 batches. Blitz until it is really finely chopped – the more finely chopped the quicker it will cook. Do the same with the carrots and add the carrots and squash to the large pan along with the beans and the water they are canned in. Add a litre (35oz) of boiling water from your kettle, stir and cover with the lid then cook on high.
- Refill and boil your kettle. Turn your bacon over.
- Blitz the chestnuts, flour, stock cube and a pinch of black pepper in the food processor (don’t bother cleaning it first, just use a silicon spatula to scrape most of the carrot and squash out). Start adding 100ml (3.5oz) cold water a splash at a time while the processor is running until the dough comes together as a ball.
- Fill your medium pan with boiling water and heat with the lid on while you make your gnocchi.
- Split the dough in half and roll each half into an inch thick sausage shape on a flour dusted board. Cut each sausage into 1cm (half an inch) pieces
- Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and simmer for around 6 minutes.
- Take the soup off the heat and puree with a stick blender or in a liquidizer then taste, adjust seasoning and simmer until ready to serve.
- Drain some of the fat from the bacon pan then add the sage leaves to the pan over a medium heat and stir so they crisp slightly. Break the bacon up into bite size pieces wile you stir. Take the gnocchi from the pan of water with a slotted spoon and toss into the pan of bacon and sage and stir for a minute to ‘dress’ it
- To serve, spoon the soup into bowls and top with a spoonful of the bacon, gnocchi and sage. Then grate over some nutmeg and parmesan