The weekends are often my favorite times to cook because I have more time, and I can share the experience with my daughter. Mr. M goes for his usual 13 mile hike, and Lil’ A and I will pick a dish and work together, tweaking, dumping, sprinkling until we’re satisfied. Last weekend it was this: Butternut Squash Gnocchi which was hearty, healthy and the perfect warm meal for yet another frigid Maryland day – which in case you were wondering, I’m totally over.
It is a little bit of a lengthy process but absolutely worth it.
Butternut Squash Gnocchi in Butter Sage Sauce (recipe tinkered with from The Italian Famers Table)
1 1/2 pounds of butternut squash, halved and de-seeded
3/4 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese (and more for garnish)
salt and black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of sage, chopped finely
olive oil (for garnish)
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the squash on a baking sheet face down, and pour the water around the pan. This will help steam the butternut squash and make sure it doesn’t dry out. Place the pan in the oven until the meat of the squash is tender. In our oven, this was about 30 minutes. I usually flip the squash half-way through – but you certainly don’t have to.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the squash to cool. Once it is cool, scoop out the innards into a bowl and smoosh it until there are no chunks. You could also use a food processor.
Add in the flour, cheese, egg, nutmeg and salt and pepper to form a lightly wet dough. Set aside and cool for 30 minutes.
When ready, bring a pot of water to a boil. While waiting, roll the dough into little dumplings (about 1/2 inch). Also get a bowl of ice water ready. When the water is boiling, drop 10-15 gnocchi in at a time, until they float – about 3 minutes. Remove and place in the ice water to stall the cooking process. Continue until all of the dough is gone.
Remove the gnocchi from the ice water onto a paper towel or clean dish towel.
Warm the butter over medium-heat in a pan. Toss in the gnocchi and cook until warmed through (2 minutes), tossing to coat with the butter. Add the sage and cook for another minute or two, continuing to toss. Eat one straight out the pan for a tester bite. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with extra Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. This would also be excellent with walnuts and blue cheese. Play around!