Holy goodness, all of a sudden it is autumn! When we were in Canada I was secretly hoping that we would come back to NYC and the gross sweaty humidity would have magically gone away, and I was RIGHT! I was so stoked when we got off the plane and it was a manageable temperature!
We also got off the plane and all of a sudden it was pumpkin and squash season! And the CUTEST little mini pumpkins that always pop up at the green market! My fave ever. I always get a little confused as to what is called a pumpkin or a squash in the States - we call a butternut squash a butternut pumpkin, and only really have a few types of regular pumpkin, as halloween isn't heavily celebrated as our seasons are round the other way (its just starting to get warm) so we don't have special pumpkins that have been bred with thin skins for carving. Pumpkin is definitely predominantly a savoury dish in NZ, but this year I am totally embracing all things sweet pumpkin! Yay!
Aaaaanyway, this dish isn't even made with pumpkin so please excuse the spiel. We have been getting loads and loads of squash in our CSA, and it is so great! I love how long it lasts, and also how versatile it is. This is one of my fave ways to use it - with sage and brown butter. I will save the giant list of things I love about sage and brown butter for another day, but for now, this will do. I used an acorn squash here as it was what I had on hand, but any sort of squash or pumpkin will work perfectly.
Home made gnocchi is yet another one of those things that I have added to the list of 'things I didn't realize were easy to make'. It is a great dinner for a big amount of people as the recipe doubles/triples very easily, and it is the ultimate comfort food. One thing I would recommend is that if you do make gnocchi often, investing in a potato ricer is a solid decision, otherwise you can push the potato through a wide-mesh sieve. We got a ricer a few months ago and it has been amazing!
I have used Jamie Oliver's Gnocchi recipe here - and if you take anything away from this post, you HAVE to watch this video that goes along with it. I watch it every time that I make gnocchi (I just use the recipe for the actual gnocchi itself, not the sauce), and it is the best ever. I just want Gennaro Contaldo to be my Grandad.
I find it easiest to get the gnocchi to the stage where they are ready to be boiled, and then while the water is boiling, prepare the squash and sage brown butter, and then toss it all together once cooked.
Gnocchi with squash and sage brown butter
- Serves 3-4 people -
Gnocchi Recipe adapted from 'Jamie Oliver'
1.5kg (3.3lbs) Russet or another dry variety of Potatoes
2 egg yolks
150g (5.3oz) all-purpose flour
pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to season
Squash and sage brown butter
650g (1.5lbs) squash, peeled and diced into small cubes
2 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane
2 sticks plus 3 Tbsp (225g plus 50g) Salted butter
1 handful size bunch of sage, leaves roughly torn and stems discarded.
- PROCESS -
Preheat the oven to 200c/420f. Place the Potatoes on the oven rack, and cook for an hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes or cool to the touch
Slice the potatoes lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh. Pass through a potato ricer or a wide meshed sieve and place into a large bowl. Add the egg yolks, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix in and knead until it becomes a soft, smooth dough.
Turn onto a lightly floured worksurface, and shape into a square log. Cut off slices approximately 2cm (1 inch) thick.
Roll each slice into a sausage approximately 2 cm (1 inch) in diameter. Continue to add more flour to the work surface as necessary. Using a metal bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut the gnocchi off into 2cm (1 inch) segments, flicking them away from you with each cut. Dust the cut gnocchi with flour.
Roll each individual gnocchi down a butter board or fork, using gentle pressure with your finger. The indentation from your finger and also the grooves made from the fork or the roller will help trap in the sauce. Place the rolled gnocchi on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and lightly dusted with flour. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a vigorous boil. While the water is boiling, prepare the squash and sage sauce.
In a large skillet, melt the three Tbsp butter. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the diced squash, tossing until it is evenly coated in butter. Cook for 5 minutes, or until beginning to go golden brown on the sides. Add half a cup of water to the skillet, cover with a lid, and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the squash is fork tender. Remove the lid, and place the squash in a bowl and set aside. Keep the skillet on the heat.
Add the two sticks of butter to the skillet. Once they have melted, add the roughly torn sage leaves. Cook until the sage is fried and the butter is brown and nutty. Remove from the heat pour into a bowl and set aside, leaving a small amount of butter remaining in the skillet.
Once the water has come to the boil, return the skillet with the butter in it to the heat. (If your skillet is not very large you may have to do this step in a few batches). Cook the gnocchi about 20 at a time. You will know they are done when they float to the top of the pot. Remove with a slotted spoon and place directly in the skillet. Fry for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden.
Once all of the gnocchi is fried, add the cooked squash and sage brown butter back to the skillet, and toss to combine. (Again this may have to be done in a few batches) Spoon into serving bowls, and garnish with fresh sage and season with flaky sea salt.