The first time I experienced gnocchi was in Milan. I was 21 years old and I will never forget it: soft, melt-in-your-mouth, savory, comforting to the max. It’s no surprise that the Italians know how to do comfort and hospitality. This restaurant was warm, intimate, and oddly familiar. It was like being at my in-law’s Sunday dinner table. The conversation, the wine and the seemingly endless plates strewn before me and the group. Ever since then, it’s been on my bucket list of things to make at home. I found this seasonal version from Bon Appetit Magazine: Butternut squash gnocchi with a sage brown butter. My jaw dropped! What better way to incorporate the flavors of the cooler months with a traditional homemade pasta. For those of you who enjoy the art of cooking, this recipe is for you. It was about a 3 hour experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. The roasted butternut squash… what a simply delicious gift from God all on its own. When you close your eyes and take a spoonful of this gnocchi, you’ll be instantly transported to that familiar place in your mind: whether it be grandma’s fragrant kitchen or a small trattoria in the heart of Milan.
- 1 butternut squash (1 lb)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 12- to 14-ounce russet potato, peeled, quartered
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 large egg, beaten to blend
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups (or more) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- Additional grated Parmesan cheese
Servings: 6 — Total Time: 3-4 hours
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut squash lengthwise in half; discard seeds. Place squash halves, cut side up, on baking sheet and brush with oil. Roast until squash is very tender when pierced with skewer and browned in spots, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh from squash into processor; puree until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan; stir constantly over medium heat until juices evaporate and puree thickens, about 5 minutes. Cool. Measure 1 cup (packed) squash puree. (*When I pureed my squash, it was already nice and thick. So I skipped the saucepan.)
Meanwhile, cook potato in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. While potato is warm, press through potato ricer* into medium bowl; cool completely. Measure 2 cups (loosely packed) riced potato.
Mix squash, potato, 1/2 cup Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, and salt in large bowl. Gradually add 1 3/4 cups flour, kneading gently into mixture in bowl until dough holds together and is almost smooth. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls. Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead gently but briefly just until smooth. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.
Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Sprinkle parchment lightly with flour. Working with 1 dough piece at a time, roll dough out on floured surface to about 1/2-inch-thick rope. Cut rope crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll gnocchi along back of fork tines dipped in flour, making ridges on 1 side. Transfer gnocchi to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour**. Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
Working in 2 batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, 15 to 17 minutes (gnocchi will float to surface but may come to surface before being fully cooked). Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to same parchment-lined baking sheets. Cool. Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover loosely and chill.
Cook butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat just until golden, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Add sage; stir 1 minute. Add gnocchi; cook until heated through and coated with butter, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan. Enjoy!
Notes: *I don’t have a potato ricer. I used the smallest side of my cheese grater and this worked perfectly.
**To save time, I chilled in the freezer for about 10 minutes while the pot of water was boiling.
Recipe adapted from Bon Apetit Magazine, www.bonappetit.com
Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco
Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco