In the last month I have had one of those moments. My health took a hit and a great scare came my way. I wish I could say that it is by my own doing that I have been able to take it all with a grain of salt but as we Catholics always say, it is the strength of God, not ourselves that makes it possible. I much prefer the earth mother zen approach to life anyway.
What to do? Live in the moment. Embracing the season of the squash and my family’s love of gnocchi I gave this one a whirl. Man is it good. Soft…pillowy….light but flavorful…everything gnocchi should be.
Oh, and need I mention that I loved them in spite of a waning disdain of squash? Give these a go my squash hating friends. Parmesan cheese makes everything better.
To get a cut of butternut squash to make these pillows, find a squash 1 1/2 lbs. A 1 lb squash should theoretically equal 1 cup but after you figure in skin, stem and water loss…just play it safe. Set oven to 375° and slice your squash in half being very careful. Scoop out seeds. Pop it in the oven. After about 1 to 1/2 hours it should look like this. Scoop out flesh and place it in a small saucepan. I cook it on medium for about 15 minutes until it looks more firm and most of the water has evaporated out of it. Water is not your friend in gnocchi. Place 1 cup of squash aside. I got tired at this point and waited until the next day to make gnocchi. It happens.
When you go to make the gnocchi, here is the deal with the flour. You want as little as possible. Just enough flour to make a workable dough makes nice light gnocchi, too much flour and you are eating chewy rocks. This is why the pastry bag (or ziploc bag with 1/3 inch corner cut out) works really well here. You can use a softer, less floury dough for the perfect gnocchi. If you question your batter, test a spoonful in your boiling water. If it stays together and doesn’t fall away, you have enough flour.
These freeze pretty well too. Below, I piped some onto floured parchment and stuck the pan in the freezer. When they were frozen, I placed the gnocchi into single servings in ziploc bags.
Butternut Squash Gnocchi
Makes about 4 servings
- 1 cup of roasted butternut squash
- 1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese + more for sprinkling
- about 1/2 cup of flour, maybe more
- 2 eggs
Instructions: In a medium sized bowl, gently mix together squash, egg ,ricotta and parmesan cheese. Stir in flour gently. You do not want a dough but a thick batter. Spoon mixture into your bag. Set aside.
Fill a medium size pot with water. Add a few pinches of salt. Bring water to a boil. Using your bag, gently work mixture into the corner and squeeze out gnocchi in about 1 inch pieces. You can cut them off or shake them off int the water. Boil until gnocchi are floating and then until they puff up just a bit. If they are fresh, they need no more time. Dress with sauce and a ton of parmesan cheese.
*If you are cooking from frozen, wait until they float and then another 3-5 minutes until they look fluffy like clouds.
Bacon & Sage Brown Butter SauceThis sauce proportion is per person. Feel free to make as much as you need.
- 2 Tbsp salted butter
- 1 thick slice of bacon
- 1/8 tsp red pepper seeds
- 5 sage leaves
- parmesan cheese for sprinkling
Instructions: Cut up bacon with scissors into small pieces. Saute until fat is rendered. Pour out fat and reserve for future use. Add in butter, sage and red pepper seeds. Saute over medium heat until a golden brown and no longer. Burned butter is yucky. Remove from heat and dress the gnocchi. Sprinkle generously with paremesan cheese.
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