Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Butternut Squash Gnocchi


Call it dedication, call it the pursuit of perfection, or call me crazy.


Over the last three days I’ve made four batches of gnocchi so that I could give you the ultimate Butternut Squash Gnocchi recipe.


Butternut Squash Gnocchi
Printable Recipe

½ large butternut squash (about 2 ¼ pounds), seeded
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place the butternut squash cut side down on a baking tray and roast for about 30 minutes. Turn and roast another 45 minutes, or until very tender. Let rest for about 15 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. Peel and puree in a food mill using a fine disc. Spread evenly on the baking tray and let cool to room temperature.

Transfer the butternut squash puree to a large bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the flour. Transfer to a work surface and knead briefly until smooth. Cut the dough into eighths. Roll 1 portion of dough into a ½-inch thick rope and sprinkle lightly with flour. Using a bench knife, cut the rope into ½-inch pieces. Roll 1 side of each piece of dough against a lightly floured gnocchi board or the back of the tines of a fork, pressing the other side lightly with your thumb as you roll. Make more gnocchi with the remaining dough in the same manner. As you work, arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on lightly floured parchment-lined baking trays. Let dry for up to 2 hours.

Cook the gnocchi in 2 or 3 batches in a large pot of boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they float to the surface of the water. Remove the gnocchi from the pot using a wire skimmer. Serve immediately as desired.


Serves 4 as a main course. Select a 4 ½-pound butternut squash and use the second half for another purpose. The key to making light, fluffy gnocchi is to drive off as much of the moisture from the butternut squash as possible during roasting and cooling and to incorporate as little flour into the dough as possible. It seems that the squash puree absorbs the least flour if it’s left to cool at room temperature for at least a couple of hours. The dough will be a bit soft and sticky, but it should be smooth and fairly easy to knead and form. Keep your hands, work surface, tools, and dough lightly floured as you work but avoid adding excess flour.


Serve the gnocchi tossed with plain butter, brown butter and sage, or your favorite pasta sauce and sprinkled with grated Parmegiano-Reggiano. Perfect in the fall when squash is abundant. Uncooked gnocchi may be frozen in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking tray and transferred to a zip-top bag when frozen solid. Gnocchi keep for several weeks frozen. Cook them straight from the freezer—do not thaw.

30 comments:

peasepudding said...

That look fabulous, I love homemade gnocchi but I've never tried to make it with pumpkin. Thanks for the recipe

chriesi said...

How delicious!

ABowlOfMush said...

Oh my goodness this looks fantastic! Seriously, there cannot be a better dish for autumn than this!

Frenchie said...

Maybe it's a little crazy, but thanks to you I now have a perfect recipe so there is no judgment on my part. I cannot wait to make these, I have been wanting to make homemade gnocchi for ages.

S. said...

Yum! I love gnocchi. Awesome photos :)

marla (Family Fresh Cooking) said...

What a perfect combination, doughy gnocchi with sweet potato!! Must try this simple, clean, yummy recipe!

NSMOM said...

I'd love to make this as my household loves BN squash. Approximately how many cups is 12 ounces of flour? Thanks,
Maureen

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

Maureen,
It depends on how packed it is, but 1 cup of all-purpose flour weighs approximately 5 ounces. So 12 ounces would be just shy of 2 ½ cups.

inspired2cook said...

Your gnocci looks delicious!

Ninette said...

Lucy, what a dedicated blogger you are! Lovely gnocchi. Great technique!

FoxFire at ThePonderingPony said...

I can't wait to try these!

Queen Art-o-Eat said...

It would be nice to know what the finished quantity of puree was-cups, ounces etc.
looks tasty!
queen artoeat

candice said...

Oh my gosh, I can't WAIT to try this!! :D

Kara said...

These look amazing. I love the butternut squash - brown butter - crispy sage combination!

hannah | honey & jam said...

ohh, those look SO terrific!

VeganGuy said...

those look awesome!

The Italian Dish said...

I think it's interesting that you used no egg to bind the dough! I will have to try this - it looks great.

anna said...

Ooh yum! I really want to try squash gnocchi. They sound like a great idea for Thanksgiving.

Cory said...

OMG, so delicious. I was nervous because of so few ingredients consdiered adding an egg or a yolk but glad I trusted you. I am planning to make this to pop into a pristine turkey soup stock as a first course on Thanksgiving - having tested this I know it will be great, although I am planning to add some chopped sage and some good parmesan to the mix, do you think that's a risk?

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

Cory,
I think that'll work just fine.

Gwen said...

We made this tonight and it was the best gnoochi that I have ever had. We were short on time so dried the gnoochi in a semi warm oven with the door open. We used home made pesto and had an amazing dinner,

Anonymous said...

Mine came out sort of gummy and thick. Should I have cooked them longer?

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

Anonymous,
The gumminess could be from undercooking the gnocchi, but the most probable cause is adding too much flour to the dough.

danaliciouseats said...

I tried this. I think I made the mistake of too much flour, but delicious anyway. I will be sure to try it again.

rebekah said...

what sides would you suggest with this dish??

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

rebekah,
Perhaps a salad with this dressing or some braised greens like this would be nice.

Anonymous said...

I had a hard time with this recipe. The first time, I used acorn squash because that's what I had. I must have drained it two days and it was STILL leaking liquid. Needless to say, I had to add too much flour and the gnocchi came out icky and heavy. I then tried it again with butternut squash. That was a much more dry squash and didn't seem to drain that much after a full day sitting in cheese cloth in a sieve. Nevertheless, I STILL needed to add more flour to be able to roll it, and it STILL came out too heavy and chewy.

Since I had read elsewhere that the key to very soft and light gnocchi is the STARCH content and not putting too much flour, I tried this recipe once again, only I used half as much squash and substituted about 1.5 cups of a baked potato (skin removed after baking and then riced) in the hope of getting more starch into it. This worked much better, as I used much less flour since the potato was drier. (My plan was to add potato flakes if it was still too wet, rather than more flour.) Anyway, it finally worked in producing very soft and tender gnocchi with the potato added.

Moreover, I recommend not overworking the dough because that's partly what makes it sticky. You don't want to release gluten in the dough. I think you just have to get a feel for it after a few attempts, in the end, though.

avaserfi said...

I made these today and it was delicious! This was my second attempt. The first time they came out a little heavy, but it was my first time making gnocchi.

I took a break from making these and made a more simple potato gnocchi recipe two or three times to get a feel for the easier to work dough. Once this happened, I was more than comfortable making the butternut squash variation.

Not only did I know what the final dough should feel like, I knew how dry the squash should be and could adjust roasting time based on the squash size.

Samphire said...

Great recipe!!
Added alittle nutmeg and Parmesan, and served the gnocchi in a brussel sprout and cheddar cream sauce, Lovely!! Thanks

Rebecca said...

I made this with two small butternut squashes, and it was delicious. I have no idea how much flour I actually added - I don't have a food scale, so I just kept adding little bits of flour until it seemed to reach the right consistency. However much I added, it worked out. These little gnocchis were wonderful in a cauliflower pesto soup. Thanks for the recipe!

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