I really enjoy making pastas by hand, and have a fondness in my heart for gnocchi in particular. Gnocchi isn’t for everyone. BD hates it and thinks it has the texture of slugs. Having never eaten slugs, I can’t imagine why he picked this, but… more for me! Gnocchi are essentially little dumplings, and most typically, they are made with potatoes. I have also made or eaten gnocchi made with ricotta cheese, red beets, pumpkin, and plums. I’m sure there are many more varieties that I have yet to try, and I’m always looking out for new gnocchi opportunities.
Last week, I had butternut squash leftover from when I made the winter vegetable soup and one night I started to roast it, thinking I’d just eat it with some sunflower seeds and spices. But once I started roasting it, I decided I was really in the mood for something a little more substantial. Luckily, gnocchi comes together very easily.
Butternut Squash Gnocchi
- 1 butternut squash, halved and seeded
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for roasting the squash
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (approximate)
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Peel and cube squash into large pieces, toss squash lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
- Spread onto a baking sheet, and roast 30-40 minutes, stirring around once or twice during the cook time
- In a large mixing bowl, mash the roasted squash with a potato-masher or a fork, and let cool about 15 minutes
- Add olive oil, sage, oregano, nutmeg and mix together
- Add flour and mix in with your hands until dough is smooth and even. Don’t over knead the dough. When it has come together, cover it with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 30-45 minutes
- On a floured surface, divide dough into 4 portions, and roll each portion into a rope appx 3/4 inch thick. If the dough doesn’t stay together, gradually work in more flour until it does. Cut rope into 3/4 inch pieces. Roll gnocchi against the tines of a fork (dip the fork in flour to keep it from sticking) to get grooves into the dumplings.
- Lay gnocchi on a floured surface and let dry 20-30 minutes before using. If you are freezing these for future use, freeze for 1 hour on the tray before storing in an airtight container.
- Cook gnocchi in a pot of low-boiling/simmering water 2-3 minutes, until the dumplings float.
You could use these gnocchi however you want – with a regular tomato sauce, a red pepper sauce, tossed with olive oil or butter, sweet in an apple cider sauce, or rich in a creamy alfredo-style sauce. I decided to make them with browned butter and balsamic vinegar and topped with grated parmesan.
Balsamic and Brown Butter Sauce (Per Serving. Multiply as Needed)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- splash balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp chopped shallot (appx 1/2 small shallot)
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. As butter starts to brown, it will become nutty and fragrant. Do not leave it unattended because if it burns you will be sad.
- Remove from heat, add shallots and vinegar
- Add butternut squash gnocchi and toss to coat
- Garnish with chopped sage, oregano, and/or paremsan cheese