Over the last week, in addition to my introspection, I got my life more organized, my office and yoga/meditation studio more in order and inspiring, and cleaned up some of those old piles of "to do" things that had collected dust for months and months. This type of mental and physical cleaning house makes me feel ready to meet the new year with enthusiasm and inspiration. Indeed, I do feel that way and am working on several different exciting work projects already.
...and now back to my blog...
Today I bring you one of my favorite fall/winter recipes - Butternut Squash Gnocchi. For those of you who read my blog regularly already know that I am a big fan of butternut squash and sage, and recently presented another recipe with these ingredients. If you don't like these ingredients, well, you can stop reading now, or look through some of my other recipes for different inspiration.
Adapted from Biba Gaggiano's TRATTORIA COOKING
Serves 6 as a "primi" or first course, or 3 as main course
1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs) cut in half lengthwise (seeds scooped out)
1 large egg beaten
1 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for coating and rolling
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (with more for the table)
For the sauce:
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. high quality olive oil
A handful of sage leaves (more or less 30 medium to large leaves)
salt to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush the squash halves with olive oil and bake on a sheet, cut side up until tender, about 45 minutes. (This can be done a day ahead.)
Cool squash. Scoop out flesh and put all of it into a clean, dry kitchen towel. Squeeze out most of the juice, but not all, approximately 1/2 cup.
Put the squash pulp into a bowl and egg, some salt, flour and Parmigiano. Mix well. Place the mixture in a floured bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Freeze for about one hour.
Spread some flour on a baking sheet. Remove the dough from the freezer. With you fingers, take about a teaspoon of the dough at a time and roll into a ball, then roll the ball into the flour. Place gnocchi on a lightly floured cookie sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used. This gets to be pretty sticky business, so you may have to clean your hands off from time to time. Place gnocchi in refrigerator until ready to use, up to several hours.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. (I add about 1 Tbsp. of salt to the water.) Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and add sage leaves. Cook on medium-low heat until butter begins to brown and the sage gets crispy. (Be careful as cooking this too quickly or with too much heat can lead to the butter and sage burning easily.) Add a little salt to the oil and butter mixture.
Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and boil for about 2 minutes, or until they rise to the surface. Remove them with a slotted spoon and add to the pan with the sage butter. Coat all gnocchi well and transfer to a platter or large bowl. Be sure to pass fresh Parmigiano Reggiano at the table for topping these tasty little morsels.
For wine, I find a light red goes well with squash dishes. Try a Dolcetto, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Nero d'Avola or Chianti Colli Senesi.