Thursday, November 10, 2011

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

There is a restaurant in town that makes this unbelievable butternut squash gnocchi.  It is the right amount of sweet, salty, and completely delicious; the perfect Fall meal.  I could eat it by the bucket, and so could most of my friends, but at $8 per plate it's not a habit to get into!

The Gimpster and I are house shopping - yes, you read right - house shopping, so our house budget is taking away most of our restaurant and bars budget so I was determined to get this one right.  I need to get the sauce right also, but I mastered the gnocchi!

Butternut Squash Gnocchi
1.5-2lb butternut squash
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of nutmeg
2 pinches of cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
3-4 cups of flour
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400.
Chop the butternut squash into little cubes and put in a glass baking dish.  Toss with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and chop the butter into 8 pieces and sprinkle them around.  Bake for 45 minutes until fork tender.

Put in a bowl and mash with a fork until there are no lumps.  Let cool to room temperature.

Add flour a cup at a time until it forms a dough that pulls away from the sides.  It took me close to 4 cups to reach the right consistency.  Flour a smooth surface and your hands.  Put a pot of slightly salted water on the stove and bring to a boil while you begin to roll out the first thing of gnocchi.  

On the floured surface, make sure you have a small pile of flour on the side and put a scoop of the dough on the board.  Roll a long thin piece of gnocchi out, and cut into 1" pieces.  I pinch mine from the sides so they look a little bow shaped, but you can use a fork to give them the traditional grooves if you'd like.  
Drop one into the boiling water and let it cook for 3-4 minutes until it floats to the surface.  Taste it, if it tastes gummy or falls apart in the water you need more flour.  If it is good, roll out all the dough and boil the portion you want to eat.  In a small pan, heat up some butter, pour over the top of the gnocchi, and top with shredded parmesan cheese.  

This recipe ended up making enough that I froze several portions of it.  To freeze, put a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet, put the gnocchi on it and put the sheet in the freezer.  Once they are solid, peel off and put in plastic bags and freeze.