Having made a big fuss about pumpkin in the last post, here I am with another pumpkiny dish. I really don’t mind butternut squash or butternut pumpkin as it’s known in other places. I think my issue is with the rather flavourless, orange rind ones. But, I’m going to give it a try, and then maybe move on to giving seafood a try too
Now, reading all the comments from the last post, I’m glad to say there are quite a few people who don’t jump on the pumpkin band wagon as soon as autumn rears its head. I also realise that in the UK and Australia, pumpkin is a term for most winter squash. Here, the pumpkin we consider a “pumpkin” is the big orange, Jack O Lantern type one. All other pumpkiny squash are known, collectively, as winter squash or by their individual names, like butternut squash, delicata squash, kuri squash, acorn squash and so on. Did you know that a pumpkin/squash is a fruit? Or rather a berry, to be more precise.
It was also nice to discover that I wasn’t off my rocker when I thought back to the fact that I had never seen a pumpkin in my childhood. I really hadn’t. Pumpkins, apparently, weren’t common back then and are not so popular in the UK still and that could be because they are native to North America. I guess we love our British marrows too much to let American pumpkins into our life
Anyway, I love gnocchi. Even though it is time consuming to make and involves a mess and many steps, I still make them every few months and solicit my children as gnocchi cutters and shapers. I am not very particular about the shape and mine don’t ever look very authentic or professional, but as long as they taste authentic, I don’t really care. Having the children help me cuts my time down to half and since they love them too, it’s a great way to guilt them into chipping in. I also taught them to roll grape leaves, BIG time saver
These Butternut Squash Gnocchi turned out beautifully and tasted amazing. I did use some potatoes also, because I was a bit doubtful about the ability of the squash to hold the gnocchi together. The potatoes tend to be glutinous and I figured they would help. They did help and also added a lovely potatoey sweetness and chewiness too. The butternut squash added a beautiful colour and a hint of sweetness. Since the squash was roasted, that helped bring out the natural sweetness of the butternut squash. I didn’t overdo the spices since that’s probably the thing I can’t stand about pumpkin recipes.
After cooking the gnocchi in boiling water, I sautéed them in a drop of oil to get them brown and crispy. The sauce was some brown butter with garlic and sage leaves fried until crispy. They were so good that I only got to eat them once at dinner because the leftovers were done by the next day.
I also used some of the sautéed gnocchi in a garlic cream sauce with broccoli; this was a great way to enjoy them too. In all, these butternut squash/pumpkin gnocchi are to die for; a wonderful way to eat seasonally.
- 2Lbs/900g butternut squash, a small sized one
- 1 Lb/450g potatoes, I used large russet baking potatoes
- 3 cups/420g all purpose/plain organic flour
- 3 eggs, organic large
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tbs butter, softened
- 1 stick/113g unsalted butter
- 2 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
- Handful of sage leaves
- a few tablespoons of olive oil, to brown the gnocchi
- 1 cup/235mL heavy whipping cream
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups broccoli crowns, blanched in hot water or sautéed.
- Parmesan, optional
- Preheat the oven 400℉/200℃.
- Peel and chop the butternut squash into cubes.
- Add a drop of olive oil and roast for about 20 minutes until the squash is tender.
- Alternatively, you can cut the squash in half and place in a pan, add a drizzle of oil and bake the whole thing until tender.
- It will take about 30-45 minutes.
- Boil the potatoes until tender, or use your microwave and "bake".
- It takes about 8-10 minutes in the microwave and it's really quite convenient.
- The potatoes from the microwave are also drier so better to make gnocchi where you don't want water logged potatoes.
- I used a ricer to get the squash and potatoes nice and smooth before mixing in the flour.
- Once the squash and potatoes are nice and smooth, add the flour, salt, the spices, butter and eggs and mix into a sticky dough.
- The dough will be quite sticky, but when you start rolling the rope, use flour on the counter top and roll the rope in the flour.
- Take a small, lemon size piece of dough and start rolling into a rope.
- Add flour to the counter if dough is too sticky.
- Don't over work or over flour the rope.
- Cut out the size of gnocchi desired.
- I cut about 1 1/2 inches/4 cm pieces, they expand a bit when cooked.
- I cut them a big bigger than traditional gnocchi since I was going to sauté them crispy.
- Continue rolling and cutting until all the dough is used up.
- Place the cut pieces on a baking sheet dusted with flour.
- Bring a big pot of water to the boil, add some salt.
- Drop a few pieces of gnocchi into the boiling water and allow the gnocchi to cook and float to the top.
- Remove the cooked gnocchi into a greased pan.
- Once all the gnocchi is cooked, you can use them however you like: tomato sauce, garlic cream sauce or sautéed till lightly crispy with browned butter and crispy sage leaves.
- Sauté about 4 cups/servings of gnocchi until crispy in a drop of olive oil.
- Keep aside.
- Melt a stick of butter on low heat until beginning to brown.
- Add the garlic slivers and sage leaves.
- Brown the butter and allow the garlic and sage to get crispy.
- Toss the gnocchi in the sauce, add pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Heat the whipped cream on low with the garlic
- Toss the sautéed gnocchi and broccoli with the cream sauce
- Sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.
- These amounts make a nice bit of gnocchi, you can easily halve it. It's enough for the 6 of us with leftovers, and when you go through all this trouble, you want leftovers. The amount of brown butter sauce is up to you. It's nice to have enough to coat but you don't want the gnocchi swimming in it, as good as it is. I guess you could sprinkle some Parmesan, but I didn't and no one missed it.
Hope you are having a great week. Just out of curiosity, did anyone hear about that Martha Stewart interview where she claims that food bloggers are “not experts” and how we don’t test recipes and may even steal recipes? I know there are those bloggers who steal content and photos and don’t credit the right sources, but to lump everyone into that category is a bit unfair. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do speak from experience, from many years of cooking, isn’t that an expert to some extent? I have to say, that I really liked Martha when I first started getting into seriously cooking and baking. After a while, I used to watch her and realised she really is very egotistical and self centred. There is no humility there and the way she treats some of her guests is quite despicable. I began to see more and more of this and then quit watching her shows.
What do you guys think of her comments? Are food bloggers unreliable? Are we really “not experts”?