Sunday, November 21, 2010

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter

I made this beautiful fall dish today from a recipe by Lydia Bastianich.  It was a good project for a chilly Sunday afternoon.

Gnocchi are pillows made of potato and flour mixed with egg and cheese.  Lydia adds roasted butternut squash, a fall favorite, accented with lots of nutmeg, then creates a fragrant sauce using brown butter and fresh sage, and tops them with Parmesan cheese. 

You'll need a potato ricer and plenty of time.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter
Recipe is by Lydia Bastianich, published in October, 2010, Bon Appetit

Prep 1 hour 45 minutes Total 4 hours (includes chilling time)
Serves 6

1 1 pound butternut squash (I bought two tubs already pre-cut)
1 T. olive oil
1 12 - 14 ounce russet potato, peeled and quartered (I used two)
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 t. salt
1 3/4 cups (or more) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 T. chopped fresh sage
Additional grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Lydia says to 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 pieced with skewer and browned in spots, about 1 1/2 hours.  Cool slightly.  I roasted my pre-cut squash on a baking sheet for about 35 -45 minutes.

Lydia says to scoop flesh from squash into processor; puree until smooth.  Transfer to medium saucepan.  I put my squash directly into the pan, and used a handblender to puree it.  Next, stir it constantly over medium heat until juices evaporate and puree thickens, about 5 minutes.  Cool. 

Measure 1 cup (packed) squash puree (reserve remaining squash for another use).

Meanwhile, cook potatoes, which have been peeled and quartered, 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 (reserve remaining potato for another use).

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 hold 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 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 a bout 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 fully cooked).  Using a 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.

Now I have to go and clean up all of the dishes!  What a mess I made, but I had lots of fun. And the gnocchi were pretty good, too.


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