Winter Squash Gnocchi
The reason I call this winter squash gnocchi as opposed to pumpkin or butternut squash gnocchi is because I don't want to pigeon hole this recipe into using certain types of winter squash.
And quite frankly, I'm tired of everything pumpkin.
There I said it. I'm not a big fan of pumpkin to begin with and everywhere you look, you see pumpkin this and pumpkin that. Geez. Must everything be pumpkin flavored between September and November? Where did this stem from? Is there a pumpkin lobby I didn't know about?
But I digress... this is about gnocchi and making it with other types of winter squash available at the farmers market or grocery store. I wrote a post regarding the many types of winter squash that is being published this week. That way, you can get educated regarding the world of winter squash.
So, a note about gnocchi...
If you've made pasta from scratch, then you can make gnocchi. All it is an Italian dumpling that is typically made with potatoes. So for this version, instead of potatoes, I used winter squash that was roasted in the oven about 1-2 days before I made the gnocchi.
Also, it's important to get the sauce finished prior to putting the gnocchi dough together because once you make the dough, you cut them into dumplings and cook them in salted boiling water. The cooking process is very quick, about 3 minutes and then you throw them into the sauce. Or you can enlist the help of a friend or two (or family members) to help make the dish. One person on sauce; another person making gnocchi.
Make sense? Good. Let's get started.
Winter Squash Gnocchi
Roast the winter squash:
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush a baking sheet with a little olive or canola oil. Place the squash cut side down on the sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft and tender. Remove from oven and cool completely before scooping out the flesh. This can be done 1-2 days ahead of time; keep squash in the refrigerator until ready to use. Photos of roasting the squash are at the end of the post.
Make the sauce:
Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the pepper flakes, shallots, garlic, and pancetta; saute for 4-5 minutes. The pancetta will get slightly crispy. Add the sliced mushrooms and sage; saute for 4-5 minutes. Pour in the stock. Reduce slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the cream; bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the grated cheese. Keep the sauce warm, stirring occasionally.
Make the gnocchi:
Make sure you have a pot of water ready to go for cooking the gnocchi (boiling and salted).
If you haven't done so already, scoop out the flesh from the cooled squash. Mash or puree the cooked squash until smooth. Thoroughly mix together the squash with the eggs, parmesan cheese, and goat cheese. Add 1 cup of flour, salt, and pepper. Mix until a dough begins to form. If the dough seems too sticky (it should be soft but not sticky), add more flour. You may need 1/2-3/4 cup more flour depending on how much moisture the squash was holding. For me, I only used about 1 1/4 cups of flour but you might need closer to 2 cups, depending on the squash you are using. Knead for about 2-3 minutes or until the dough is no longer sticky. Do not overwork the dough or it will turn out tough.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 18-24 inches long. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece down the tines of a fork to create grooves in the gnocchi. Boil the gnocchi in batches in the salted, boiling water. When the gnocchi float, they're done; about 2-3 minutes. Drain and place cooked gnocchi into the sauce. Cook the gnocchi in the sauce for 3-4 minutes before serving.
Serve with crusty bread and extra parmesan cheese.
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