Butternut squash gnocchi recipe
Autumn my favourite season, the changing colours of the trees, the smell of wood fire in the air, conkers on the floor and the amazing seasonal produce that is available. As the nights become longer and the air cooler this is the time of the year where staying indoors and cooking good homely warm meals are our priority.
We wanted to make something autumnal, typical Italian especially Northern. This recipe is so simple and delicate on flavours and taste, butternut squash gnocchi with a sage and butter sauce.
Gnocchi derived from the Italian word “nocca” meaning knuckles ,can be made from potatoes or bread crumbs, this recipe will use only butternut squash and flour, making the gnocchi light and fluffy, you can also use spinach leaves in the gnocchi this will turn a lovely green colour.
In a gnocchi recipe you can add any sauce, whether meat based, or tomato based, but as the butternut squash is a delicate flavour we didn’t want to overpower them so decided on a simple butter and sage with shavings of Montano cheese.
This dish will serve 4 to 5 people depending on the size of the dishes whether it being a starter or a main dish.
150g plain flour
60g unsalted butter
4 to 5 sage leaves if not available use 1 tbs of dried sage
Pre-heat the oven at 160C. Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop the seeds and cut off the rind. Cut the butternut squash into squares place on a baking tray with parchment paper season with salt and pepper and cook for 45 min or until the butternut squash feels soft. The reason for doing this is that by drying out the squash in the oven when we come to kneading it on the work surface it will require less flour and as a result the gnocchi will be light and fluffy when cooked. If you find the squash is burning a little in the corners but still feels hard place some tin foil an carry on cooking.
Once softened either pass through a mixer and blitz to a pulp or I used a fork and just mashed the squash.
Place on a work surface, make a well in the middle add the egg and some flour at a time (remember the less flour you use the more light and fluffy the gnocchi will be) and just work the mixture it shouldn’t be too sticky nor too dry once you are happy with the consistency start rolling the dough into long sausages the thickness should be like the size of your thumb and cut with a sharp knife.
In a pan add the butter and sage leaves or dried sage and heat slowly until the butter has melted, set aside.
In a pan of boiling water add some salt and drop the gnocchi. I like to do them in batches as too many may slow the cooking process. Usually it will take 3 minutes but you can tell when the gnocchi are done because they will float on the surface scoop with a spoon colander and place them in the other pan with the butter and sage coat the gnocchi with the sauce and then plate up add a handful of grated Montano or Pecorino cheese and enjoy buon appetito.
Did you know you can try different sauces with this gnocchi recipe we tried our pistachio pesto this add a little texture as the crunch from the pistachio nuts blends really well with the gnocchi. Chop some garlic and cook in some olive oil once softened add the pesto and some cream and there you have a lovely creamy sauce or a ready made tomato sauce