Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Sage

Mmmmm....squashy! Not the ones you've had too much of all Summer...these are their hardier bros. Yep, Winter squash! I've had a couple of  these squash hogging up my hanging produce basket for over a week, it just wasn't the right time yet. But when the wind picked up the other day, and it was perfectly chilly outside, I knew it was time to turn the oven on. I roasted an acorn squash (I'm testing a recipe using these, not successful the first go round) and the butternut squash used in the recipe. I just rinsed them, sliced them in half, scooped out the guts, then drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, cut side down on a lined cookie sheet, and threw them into a preheated 425F oven. I tend to just check on them after about 20mn or so, and let them go a bit longer if you can't easily pierce it with a fork. The squash gets soft without losing all it's texture and it gets delicious carmelized bits. Roasting the squash is the hard part, now it's smooth sailing. I like to roast my squash a couple days ahead (or a couple at a time) to make it easier for weekday meals.

For this recipe I used a medium size squash. In the end you'll need about 2 cups of "flesh" so, if your squash is a big daddy, just roast the whole thing, and use the other half to make some soup....curry butternut soup, do it! Ok, moving on...
2C roasted butternut squash (skin remove after baking)- I run mine through a food mill, it makes it smooth as silk and it sifts out the skin that my lazy butt couldn't be bothered scraping at. If you don't have one, be careful when scooping out the flesh, and then smash and whip the heck out of it. You can adjust this to use whatever winter squash/pumpkin you have on hand.
5-6 fresh sage leaves- stack them, and fold at the crease then slice very thinly
1/2Tsp salt (or so)- this depends on how well you salted your squash to begin with, and also if you're adapting the measurements to accommodate more or less squash.
1-3C flour- I used pastry flour because it's what I had, and I was thinking it would keep the gnocchi light and airy. Feel free to use white unbleached flour (or bleached if you must, but dang, it's no good for you!)

(Hot tip: rinse this sucker right away with hot water! You think cleaning a cheese grater that sat out too long is bad, oh man.)
Add the salt to the squash puree, and then slowly mix in the flour, using a spoon, about a 1/3 cup at a time. Use a light hand (you don't want them to get tough!), but make sure you don't have any flour pockets. Keep adding flour until you get a dough ball that separates from the bowl, making sure it's not too sticky. If it needs a bit more flour, just keep dusting the dough and working it in with your hands.

Flour your hands and a board, then grab about 1/4 of your dough, and using a combo of your hands and the board, roll out some dough snakes. Try to get your snakes as even as you can, but it's not going to harm the flavor, rustic is just as tasty! Keep a light hand....

When you have your snakes all done, slice into gnocchi using a sharp knife. Depending on how fat your rolled them out, you'll want adjust how long each individual gnocchi is, as you don't want them to be too thick. I try to stick with the size of the top digit of my thumb as a guide.
From there heat a large skillet over medium/high, adding a swirl of olive oil, and a pat of butter. Put a single layer of gnocchi (you may have to fry in 2 batches) into the heated pan. Let them get brown and crispy on one side (about 5mn, maybe....don't quote me on that, my pan wasn't quite hot enough) then either do the fancy skillet toss thingee, you know the one, or use a spatula to flip them, and let them go a couple of minutes.When they are almost browned, add your sage (it gets nice and crispy), and a bit more butter if you need it. Season to taste with salt & pepper and top with freshly grated parmesan. I just ate way too many of these guys.


  1. Lovely. I generally make a fine soup out of such things, and haven't even considered the gnocchi option. Thank you.

  2. Oh my goodness, these look amazing! But time consuming... how long does the whole process take? Definitely looks like a weekend project- one I want to try!

  3. It's really easy!!! It doesn't take long can roast the squash the day ahead, and it comes together really fast from there!

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