I was searching for a starch to go with my Beef Wellington for my Christmas Eve 2010 dinner and I wanted something different. This Butternut Squash Gnocchi recipe got great reviews and had the advantage that I could start preparations the day before. It was a bit time consuming to make, but pretty simple and the results were quite good. The gnocchi hit a good point between denseness and lightness – even though most of them were rolled by my 6 and 8 year old daughters, novices at this art -, they were subtly spiced and tasted very good. They are very rich in the butter, however, so I think they work best as a side dish. I’d make them again, I think.
Note that I doubled the original recipe, both because I thought I’d need more gnocchi than I did (I served less than half of what I made) and because the smallest butternut squashes at the supermarket were 2lbs. Also note that the original recipe says to serve with additional Parmesan cheese, I thought they were best without it.
Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter
-1 2lb butternut squash
-1 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 1/2lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
-1 cup Parmesan cheese
-2 eggs, beaten
-1 Tbsp. grated nutmeg
-1 tsp. salt
-4 cups all purpose flour
-1 cup butter
-1/2 cup fresh sage, chopped.
Start the day before you want to serve the gnocchi.
Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and discard the seeds. Place squash halves on baking sheet, cut side up, and brush with oil. Roast squash until it’s very tender and browned in sports, about 1 1/2 hours. Let cool. Scoop flesh from the squash, put into a blender of food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add potatoes and cook until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and mash the potatoes. Cool completely.
Line several baking sheets with wax or parchment paper. Lightly flour them.
Once the squash and the mashed potatoes are cool, mix them together in a large bowl. Add Parmesan cheese, eggs, nutmeg and salt and mix well. Gradually add the flour, mixing until combined. Knead dough until it’s almost smooth and holds well together, add more flour if necessary.
Flour a flat working surface and your hands. Grab a piece of dough and roll with your hands into a 1/2″ thick rope. Cut rope into 1/2″ long pieces. Roll each piece along the back of the tines of a fork dipped in flour. Place each gnocchi on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all the dough. Cover the gnocchi with plastic wrap and put in the freezer until the following day.
The next day
Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add gnocchi (you will have to do this in 2 or more batches) and cook until they are floating and are very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. This can be made up to 8 hours ahead, Place on baking sheets and refrigerate.
Cook the butter in a large pot over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sage and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the gnocchi and cook until heated through. Remove and serve.
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