Friday, November 7, 2014

Recipe for Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Soft and delicate butternut squash gnocchi
flavored with butter and sage, and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 
 A must-try recipe for this fall!

This is a recipe you must try this fall, made with one of the freshest farmers market product right now.
I know, it may come as a surprise that gnocchi are not only made with potatoes. Butternut squash is also perfect in dumplings because of its tender and firm texture, as well as its creamy and sweet flesh. These gnocchi are as soft and delicate as the one made with potatoes, with the added sweetness and richness of the butternut squash.
As I mentioned in my recipe for the potato gnocchi, the secret to soft and tasty dumplings is to use the least amount of flour possible, without the gnocchi falling apart in the boiling water. So it's best to bake the squash rather than boiling it in water. I like to peel and cut it in pieces before baking, so that the cooking and cleaning are a lot faster. Then all you need to do is pass the squash through the ricer, add flour and egg, and just drop small spoonfuls of the mixture in boiling water. So simple! No need to knead dough, roll and cut the gnocchi. Maybe less picture perfect than potato gnocchi, but a lot quicker and easier. And for sure as delicious!

Ingredients: serving 4-6 people

  • 2.5 lb (about 1 kg) of  peeled and cleaned butternut squash (mine was 3.5 lb before removing the skin and the seeds)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1.5 cups (210 gr) of all-purpose flour
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (you could use extra virgin olive oil, as a healthier alternative)
  • 6-8 leaves of sage
  • 4 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation time: 45 minutes

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in slices. Remove the peel and the seeds. Cut in smaller pieces, place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for about 25  minutes, until slightly golden and tender. You can test with a piece in the ricer and see. It should not be too hard to press it through. If so, add a couple of minutes in the oven.

2. Press the squash through a potato ricer onto a large bowl. Depending on the squash, there might be a little water coming out when you first start squeezing the ricer. If you can, throw the water out.
3. Mix the squash with the flour, the nutmeg, the eggs and a little bit of salt. Add the flour some at the time, until you find the right consistency.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Using two teaspoons, drop small amounts of squash mixture into the simmering water. You probably will need to do this in three or four batches, depending on how big is your pot. Don't put too many gnocchi in the water or they won't have space to move and they might stick to each other.Wait for the gnocchi to float to the surface and let cook for 2 more minutes. It should take 4-5 minutes at most.
5. Melt butter with the sage in a large frying pan.
6. When ready, remove the gnocchi from the water using a hand colander or a large perforated spatula, drain well from the water and place in the pan with the butter and sage.
Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Buon appetito!

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