Monday, 19 March 2012

Squash Gnocchi w Sage Butter

I know Italian cooking can be daunting for someone who isn't familiar with it.  But, with time and patience everything can be achieved. This recipe is particularly easy even if you skip the decoration of the gnocchi which helps the sauce cling. This recipe is extremely fast, easy and delish! Get the kids involved so they can get their hands messy and everyone will be proud and love the results of their labour.

1 cup butternut squash
1 cup  potato, cooked and riced at room temperature
1 1/2 cup flour +extra
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper
1/2tsp salt
1 egg

1/2cup coarse corn meal approx. for dusting

1c butter
8 sage leaves approx.
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut into 2" or 3" pieces
1/2c grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

Cut squash in half and place one half cut side up on baking sheet, add 1 large potato, pierced  with a knife several times, on the sheet as well.
Bake 375 F for 30-40min until a knife pierces through skins easily.
* This can be done 1-2 days prior to usage for the squash, this method reduces moisture  absorption instead of boiling*

When cooled enough to handle, scoop out seeds from squash, discard. Scoop out desired amount of flesh.  Peel potato and press through a food mill or ricer on fine grind. Place vegetables into a large mixing bowl.  Allow  to cool to room temp.  Add egg, stir  to blend. Add flour & pepper, toss gently using one hand and a fork, allowing mixture to fall through fingers while incorporating.

When it starts to stick together, begin to knead gently on counter dusted with flour until if forms a ball.

Cut into 4 pieces, roll into 12" ropes 3"-4" thickness approx.  Sprinkle some of the corn meal onto counter. Sprinkle some corn meal onto a cutting board and place 1  rope on board roll it around so the corn meal coats the gnocchi and begin to cut with a sharp knife. *This will prevent them from sticking together.* Cut into 3/4"-1" pieces and push onto dusted counter.

Continue to cut all ropes, working quickly as the moisture in the potatoes will soften and gnocchi may become sticky. Place a fork face down onto counter, place one gnocchi onto the top of the tines and using your finger gently but firmly press into the center of the gnocchi and roll down towards the counter, imprinting  and rolling away to make a well into the centre of the dumpling, creating a cylinder inside and indentation of tines on outside.  *This is where the sauce will  adhere to the gnocchi.* Continue until all dumplings are finished.
Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with extra corn meal if sticking together.  *It can be frozen at this point*


In a small saucepan or skillet melt the butter and begin to brown gently.  Add mushroom and asparagus stir and saute for 5min approx.  When milk solids stop foaming the bits will start to brown.  Don't skip this step as it is when you add lots of flavour to the butter.  Add sage leaves and season to taste.

 Bring a large pot of salted water 3/4 full to a rolling boil.  Tip gnocchi one at a time working quickly, into water.  Stir gently with a wooden spoon so gnocchi do not stick to bottom.  Cover pot with lid, stay close by, and bring to a boil.  Do not let water boil over. When gnocchi begin to rise, cook for 1-2 min more tasting for doneness (al dente).

Drain gnocchi and place back into pot, do not drain fully.  Add sage sauce & parmesan. Stir to coat

Serves 4

Enjoy with love!

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