In keeping with an autumn twist on my recipes so far and also wanting to use the rest of the butternut squash I had left over from the risotto I made a few nights ago, I decided that tonight would be another Italian dish, Gnocchi. I love gnocchi as it can be gluten free and vegan. This recipe is versatile as you could swap the butternut squash out for pumpkin or sweet potato, or any starchy root vegetable that is similar to potatoes can work, or just potato itself! Gnocchi is suppose to be light and fluffy, like little pockets of air or pillows, however you will find that using butternut squash will make it denser.
Gnocchi is basically the Italian dumpling and has been around since at least the Roman period. Originally gnocchi was made with semolina flour and the use of potatoes was not introduced until much later. I used a gnocchi board (which I just so happen to have, although it is used as salad tongs mostly) to create the grooves but the back side of a fork can create the same effect by rolling the fork over the pieces.
This pasta should should be served with a light sauce such as pesto or a sage brown butter sauce (which I have paired with this recipe). You don’t really need much else served with the dish as it is very filling on its own, but if you do want something go with a lighter option, I actually decided to marinate portobello mushrooms in balsamic vinegar overnight and slowly cooked them until the vinegar became a thick glaze, it was a nice compliment to the butternut squash.
- Butternut Squash Gnocchi
- ½ Medium sized butternut squash
- 2 Cups gluten-free flour
- 1 Tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ Tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ Tsp ground ginger (optional)
- ½ Tsp ground allspice (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tsp olive oil
- Sage Browned Butter Sauce
- 1 Clove garlic, minced
- 3 Sage leaves or 1 tbsp ground sage
- 3 Tbsp butter
- ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tsp balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven at 425 degrees.
- Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds (keep for roasting later). Cut squash into quarters, season with salt and pepper and 1 tsp olive oil. Lay flesh side down and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until flesh is soft and easy to slice through. Set aside to cool completely.
- While squash is cooking its time to make the sauce. Take the butter and heat up on medium high, stir it around to ensure it is melted. Add sage leaves or ground sage and minced garlic, cook until the butter begins to foam, constantly stir until butter turns into a dark golden brown. Take off heat and add olive oil and balsamic vinegar, stir to mix. If you do not want to eat the sage leaves now is the time to take them out. Set to the side.
- Once squash is cooled, scoop out flesh into large bowl and make sure it is completely cooled. Transfer to a food processor/blender and blend until smooth. Place back into large bowl and add spices, mix to combine.
- Add 1 cup of flour, sifted. Mix with your hands to combine, add the rest of the flour ¼ cup at a time until a dough forms. Once it is not sticky to the touch it is ready for the next step meaning you may not use all the flour, go by feel. You do not want to overwork the dough.
- Break dough into 4 smaller balls and set on board. Sprinkle flour on surface and roll one ball into a a long rope, about 1 inch thick. Cut rope into 1-2 inch pieces.
- Roll pieces down a gnocchi board or use a fork to make grooves.
- Bring a medium size pot of salted water to boil and drop gnocchi into pot, do not put all in at once but around 15-20 pieces at a time, depending on pot size. The gnocchi will drop to the bottom of pot, stir once with wooden spoon to make sure none are sticking to the bottom. Gnocchi will rise to the top of the pot when they are ready, about 10 minutes. Scoop out cooked gnocchi once it comes up and transfer to serving dish.
- Mix in sauce and serve immediately. If you do not cook all the gnocchi then place in a container and freeze.