Looking through different recipes for gnocchi you’ll often see “homemade ricotta gnocchi in 20 minutes” or “ricotta gnocchi is so easy and fast to make.” Just let it be said that they are all liars. ALL! The only person to date that I have found who was very honest about the difficulties of gnocchi was Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks. I first tried my hand at potato gnocchi following her directions years ago. I have not attempted it since.
I have heard all these rave reviews about how simple ricotta gnocchi is so I decided to give it a try. Maybe difficult is not the right word, maybe just ultra time consuming and fussy. You’ve been warned. However if you want to give gnocchi a try, this recipe, inspired by one from Martha Stewart’s website, was indeed delicious. The trick is to not put too much flour, just enough to be able to handle the dough, and loads – oodles – of patience and a big glass of vino to make it painless. This recipe makes a huge batch, but I figure if I’m going to fuss, I better make it worth my time.
So for all of you who have far too much time on your hands or are just super passionate about homemade gnocchi, then these little pasta dumplings might just be for you. They were light and flavorful, caress the tongue with just enough density to force the mouth to chew versus allowing the gnocchi to melt away. Gnocchi is, after all, about achieving the perfect texture and allowing the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through. No pesto required here. Instead we opted for sage and garlic olive oil with some peppery arugula.
Butternut Squash Ricotta Gnocchi
- 425g light 4% ricotta
2 cups grated parmesan
4 lbs butternut squash
2 eggs beaten
4 to 6 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
This recipe is a lot less about measuring and a lot more about getting the flour to filling ratio right. So remember, add only enough flour to handle the dough.
I started off roasting the squash in a 400 degree oven. Bake until the squash is cooked through and the skin peels away from the flesh. Remove the seeds and allow to cool. Remove the skin and mash the squash with a fork to eliminate any lumps. Add all the ingredients except the flour and mix well. Start by adding the flour a couple of cups at a time. Add more until a workable dough is achieved. Take a small portion of the dough and roll into thin strands on a well flour surface. This is the point were you’ll really know if there’s enough flour in the dough. Add a little more if you’re having problems handling it and if it’s sticking to your hands. Well floured hands will help this.
|Half inch snake|
|Cut into 3/4 inch segments|
|I marked the tops with a fork.|
Once you’ve cut them into pieces, place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and freeze them for about an hour and them toss them into baggies to freeze for an easy meals later. Freezing them is not necessary if you’re going to eat them right away.
To cook, get a large pot of boiling water. Add few dumplings at a time so that the water stays at a boil. Once the dumplings float to the surface their ready. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and place in a warm bowl or dish. Cook in batches until there’s enough for the group. Toss gnocchi with your favorite pesto or brown sage butter is a very popular “sauce” for squash gnocchi. We opted to have a frying pan set a on medium hi with 2 Tbsp of sage olive oil and 1 garlic clove and added the gnocchi as they were cooking. At the end it was tossed with fresh arugula and topped with fresh Parmesan.
This was so yummy we had it twice in the same week. That’s saying a lot in our house. We also have enough in the freezer for 5 more meals!