Our supply of home-grown butternut squashes is dwindling. The good thing about that is that it frees up space under our bed which is where I’ve been storing them much to the chagrin of my son who’s the one doing the weekly round with a vacuum cleaner (‘how am I supposed to vacuum under the bed with all the squashes?!’ being the refrain to this task) (do your children have to do chores around the house, too? Because mine try to persuade me nobody else has to). The bad thing is, there are not many butternut squash gnocchi in our near future anymore. I don’t know how many times I have made these throughout the winter but I have definitely become very proficient. I could probably make them in my sleep. Or blindfolded. Maybe not.
There were times when I was intimidated by gnocchi and maybe you are too, but they really are very easy. Especially if you make them this way, just small pillow-shaped gnocchi, not the more authentic but more pain-in-the-ass roundish ones with indentations. I did try that in the beginning but don’t think it’s worth the extra effort.
I also like that you can serve the gnocchi in many different ways, here are some of our favourite:
- With melted butter in which you crisp up some sage leaves (+a green salad)
- With a simple tomato sauce
- With pan-fried mushrooms and rosemary
- Baked in the oven in tomato sauce with lots of mozarella
- And my very favourite: the next day for lunch baked in a little olive oil and butter with sage and a grating of Parmesan on top
If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!
Butternut squash and ricotta gnocchi
250 ml (1 cup) butternut squash puree (read here how I make the puree)
250 ml (1 cup) ricotta
1 tsp salt
50 g (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
420 g (2 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, stir together the squash puree, ricotta and eggs. Season with salt, add the Parmesan and flour and mix well. How much flour you’ll need depends on how moist the puree is, but this amount almost always works for me. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour, but remember the dough is sticky.
Form a ball from the dough, then cut it in quarters. On a generously floured surface, roll one piece of dough into a cylinder about 2,5 cm (1 inch) in diameter. Cut it into about 1,5 cm (1/2-inch) pieces. If you wish, use a fork to make an indentation in each piece – you have to dip the fork in flour to stop the dough from sticking. Transfer the gnocchi to a well-floured cutting board and repeat the process until you’ve used all the dough.
Bring water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Season generously with salt and return to a boil. Add about 20 gnocchi and cook until they rise to the top, about 4 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and repeat with the rest of the gnocchi. Serve as you with.