Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cook Something: Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Ah, fall.  The chill in the air.  The turning of the leaves.  Hot apple cider.  Nights outside by the chiminea. This time of the year conjures such lovely images in my head.

Images that I have to imagine because it's still consistently in the upper 90's here, and today it's supposed to be 100...again.  That aside, mother nature has blessed Dallas with a couple of lovely days, and fittingly the first day of autumn was one of those days.  I was determined to make a perfect fall dinner that night.  I may have been trying to encourage fall to stay around for a while.  So after work I walked to the Whole Food near my house (love that), picked up a couple simple ingredients, and got to work making delicious butternut squash gnocchi.  The recipe is a bit time consuming, though not really difficult, but the end result was definitely worth it.  Pillowy clouds of gnocchi with a slightly sweet taste topped with an herby brown butter sage sauce and some freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Fantastic.

The original recipe calls for using a potato ricer or a food mill.  Do you have a ricer? I don't.  No worries we can achieve the same effect using a colander and a wooden spoon.  

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Adapted from: Bon Appetit 
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1-2 large Russet potatoes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup all-pupose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick of butter
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Drizzle olive oil on top of each half and roast in a 400 degree oven until the flesh is soft and scoop-able, about 1 hour.  There will likely be burnt spots on some of the squash.  Not to worry, these just add flavor.  Once soft, scoop the flesh into a food processor and pulse until completely blended and smooth.
  • Boil the potatoes (skin on) until they're softened all the way through.  Allow to cool slightly.  Once they're not super hot (but still warm), push them through the holes of a sturdy metal colander using the back of a wooden spoon.  The skins will stay in the colander and the newly riced potato won't.

  • Scoop the purred butternut squash into a saucepan and cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes until any liquid evaporates and the mixture thickens.

  • In a bowl mix, 1 cup of purred butternut squash, 2 cups riced potatoes, the egg, the nutmeg, the salt, and the parmesan cheese.  Slowly add the flour and gently knead it to mix.  If your dough is super sticky add additional flour one tablespoon at a time until it is pliable.  Knead until smooth, but don't over knead because it'll cause the gnocchi to be dense instead of lightly and fluffy.  Cut the dough into 8 equal portions.

  • Roll each portion into a 1/2 inch thick rope.  Cut the rope into 3/4 an inch sections.  Using the back of a fork, roll the tines on one side of the gnocchi to make ridges.  If you've never seen gnocchi made before, look up a video on YouTube.  Although they'll still taste great even if not made perfectly. Mine definitely weren't perfect.

  • Put the newly formed gnocchi on a baking sheet and let rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.  After the hour, drop the gnocchi into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook through.  They begin to float when cooked, but will need to cook additionally after that.  It takes approximately 15-20 minutes for each batch (I did mine in two batches) to cook entirely.
  • While the gnocchi is cooking, heat a heavy bottomed pan on low heat and add the butter.  It will slowly change from yellow to a beautiful golden brown color and will smell all nutty and delicious. Once it's golden brown turn off the heat and add the sage. 
  • Gently mix in the cooked gnocchi with the butter sauce and cook together for a couple minutes to blend flavors.

Top the gnocchi with additional grated parmesan, a sprinkle of salt, some fresh cracked black pepper, and another dash of sage.

And that's it.  Happy Fall!

(And please excuse any grammatical errors.  I'm writing this in a massive hurry...and I only have 10 minutes to get to work!)

1 comment:

Legally Lovely said...

You always post the most DELICIOUS food and it makes me hungry! I need to stop reading your blog late at night when I shouldn't be eating. You must have a lot of patience in the kitchen - I'm jealous! I always just make whatever is the fastest. Maybe someday I'll get a little more patient and will make something this yummy!

Post a Comment