Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Roasted Seeds

As I was preparing these gnocchi I was wondering if squash would really be considered a vegetable or if perhaps it is a fruit.  My Google searches helped to no avail in answering this question, giving reasons that it is a fruit due to the seeds being on the inside and that it comes from the flower, or that it is a vegetable due to it being a member of the Curcurbita family of vegetables.  I say tomato, tomato.  I love all squash; acorn, spaghetti, kabocha, and of course, butternut.  Each has a unique flavor and texture that can’t be beat by any other vegetable…or fruit.  I was incredibly excited that my mom gave me not one, but two, butternut squash from her garden this year, and today I have been in my kitchen since 8am perfecting this Butternut Squash Gnocchi recipe.  With toasted squash seeds, that dare I say are more flavorful than pumpkin seeds, this dish makes a great Sunday evening meal with delicious leftovers for the week.

1 1-pound butternut squash, reserve seeds
2 tbs olive oil
1 large russet potato
2/3 cup parmesan
1 egg, beaten
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 3/4 cup flour, plus some for dusting
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)

Sauce Ingredients (from Sage Brown Butter Sauce)
6 tbs butter
2 tbs sage, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan
1/3 cup pasta water

Cut the top of the butternut squash off and slice right down the middle to separate the sides.

Scoop out the seeds and fibers and reserve.

Place halves on a baking sheet flesh side up and drizzle with olive oil.  Rub the oil to cover all parts of the flesh.  Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes, or until a fork can slide easily through the thickest part.

While the squash is baking, pick the seeds out of the fibers.  Some people like to wash the seeds before baking but I prefer not to wash off flavor.  Toss them with 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste, and place them in a single layer on a tinfoil lined baking sheet.  Also, peel and cube a potato and bring to a boil until fork tender.

When the squash comes out, drop the oven down to 300 and put the seeds in.  Bake for 5 minutes, stir them around, and bake until golden and crisp, about 5 more minutes.

While you’re waiting for your squash to cool, press the hot potato through a wire sieve.

Once the squash is cool, scoop one half into a food processor and puree.  Keep the other half for another dish (such as mashed with butter and brown sugar!)

Empty into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat to evaporate out some of the juices to make it thicker, about 5 minutes.

Let the squash cool completely.  While cooling, grate fresh nutmeg.  I love the way it looks!  It’s okay to use bottled nutmeg too, but I had this on hand.

Measure out 2 cups of the cooled and fluffed potatoes and mix with cooled squash, parmesan, beaten egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Slowly add the flour mixing with your hands to incorporate.  Add more flour if it is sticky.  Dough should be very soft.

Once a ball of dough has formed, cover a work surface with flour and knead the dough gently.  Roll into a log and cut into manageable sections.

Take a section and gently roll into a 3/4 inch diameter log.

Cut the logs into 3/4 inch sections.

Using a floured fork, roll the dough along the back to form ridges and partially curl over.

Place finished gnocchi on a flour dusted baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Follow the recipe from Sage Brown Butter Sauce to make the sauce.

To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.  Cook the gnocchi in batches.  When it floats it is cooked, about 2-3 minutes.  Scoop out of the water with a slotted spoon and put into the skillet with sauce.

To serve, place gnocchi in a bowl with parmesan and roasted seeds.


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