October means pumpkins, squash, apple picking, Halloween, pears, all things warm and full of spice! My kids especially my daughter loves gnocchi. When we go to an Italian restaurant, and if I end up getting gnocchi, I know I have to get another dish for myself, cause she will eat half of mine for sure! She loves pasta, and it almost makes me believe that maybe she was Italian in her previous birth :). She could eat pasta everyday!
Gnocchi is not hard to make, it is simply time consuming, from making the dough, rolling it out, cutting, shaping, freezing, to finally cooking it. I personally love gnocchi since it is so light, pillowy, and airy, and the texture is beautiful. The flour content is less in gnocchi as compared to the potato and squash in this case, making it light on the stomach as well. From all the squashes out in the fall, my favorite is the delicata squash and the butternut squash. I made this pasta on the first day of October, and there was no delicata as yet in the market, so I bought the butternut squash instead to make this pasta. I also bought some beautiful oyster mushrooms for meatiness in this dish.
The recipe has been adapted from Bon Appetit and the recipe called for roasting the entire squash brushed with olive oil. Instead I cut the squash into pieces, tossed them in olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and roasted it in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. I love the charred bits, and the puree was very flavorful in this case. To the gnocchi dough, I added cardamom and nutmeg as the spices for added flavor, giving it that sweet and salty kick from the spices.
The dough is enough for 6 servings. I divided the dough into 2 portions and froze the gnocchi after making it. We had it as a lunch serving this past Sunday as well! My daughter was thrilled! I sauteed it in a brown butter sage sauce with oyster mushrooms cooked in a bit of olive oil and butter, salt, pepper and thyme. The mushrooms really add the extra oomph to this dish. Garnished with freshly grated parmesan cheese, toasted chopped hazelnuts and red chilli flakes and paired with a beautiful Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from MeadowCroft Wines. This particular wine has hints of hibiscus tea and bing cherry and pairs well in the fall with this hearty gnocchi! I have been a fan of the Meadowcroft Wines since last year! Their wines are small production reserve wines and hence make them very special.
I hope to make this gnocchi again a few times this season! Especially for my darling daughter! 🙂 I hope you get a chance to try it too. Gnocchi making is not intimidating, and is fairly easy to follow, and get it right. It makes for a delicious satisfying meal, and would be great for entertaining as well.
Enjoy this beautiful fall season! It is still hot here, cooler in the nights and am waiting for when I can wear thicker cardigans!
Until then, much love.
- 1 butternut squash, skin peeled and cut into medium cubes
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 russet potato, peeled, and cut into 4 pieces.
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 10-15 sage leaves
- 2 cups oyster mushrooms
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Red chilli flakes
- 1/2 cup toasted coarsely chopped hazelnuts
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Put the cut squash on a baking tray along with the spices and olive oil. Toss to mix. Put in the tray in the oven for half hour till it becomes soft, and slightly charred. Cool for 5 minutes. Puree the mixture in a food processor till it is well blended.
- While the squash is in the oven, in a medium saucepan, in boiling salted water, cook the russet potato until tender. Drain off the water, and let the potato cool slightly for about 5 minutes. Mash it with a masher on a flat tray or a flat plate to make sure it is completely mushed.
- In a large bowl, add 1 cup of the squash, mashed potato, egg, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper to taste(I generally add about 1 heapful tsp each), ¾ cup parmesan cheese. Mix to combine. If the dough is sticky add about a tablespoon of flour at a time. Put the dough on a floured surface and knead it until it is smooth and springy to the touch. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Put parchment paper on a baking sheet. Sprinkle little flour over the entire sheet to ensure the gnocchi won’t stick to each other or to the parchment.
- Take one piece of dough and roll it out into a ½ inch thick rope. Cut it into 1 inch pieces. I like to use a bench scraper for clean cuts. You can use a gnocchi shaper, or the back of a fork will have a similar effect. Roll each dough piece over the back of the fork, that has been dipped in flour, to give it ridged edges. I used a flat rounded small icing spatula to push it against the gnocchi shaper and give it that ridged edge look. The ridged edge helps to capture the sauce in it. Put each gnocchi onto the floured baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the gnocchi until soft for about 10-12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi and place it on another baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Meanwhile, in parallel, in a small skillet, add the butter and olive oil on medium heat. Once butter is melted, add in the mushrooms, and saute to cover it with the oil-butter mixture. Now let it sit in the pan for 3 minutes until it starts to brown. Saute for 2-3 more minutes. Add in thyme, salt and pepper, mix and the mushrooms are done.
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the butter until it just starts browning – it should be a light brown color and foaming on the top. This process will take about a couple of minutes. Now add the sage leaves and let it sizzle for about a minute. When you hear the sizzle stop, you remove the leaves and let it drain off the excess on a paper towel. Cook the gnocchi in the butter for about 5 minutes. Plate it in a large bowl, add the sage leaves, the mushrooms to top it and grate parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the hazelnuts on the top. Sprinkle red chilli flakes if required.