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A great fall pasta dish including a dough made of butternut squash and potato served with a brown butter and sage sauce.
Start by preheating oven to 425 F. Take a knife and make score marks into the flesh of the squash, about 1/2 inch down. Rub the skin with the canola oil and place the squash onto a rimmed baking sheet, skin side up. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes.
During this time, fill a pot with the potatoes, and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer on the stove, and cook until fork tender. Depending on the size of the chunks this should take 10-20 minutes.
Once the potatoes are tender, drain them and return the potatoes back to the pot. Put pot onto the stove on medium-low heat and cook until the excess moisture is removed, just a couple of minutes. Remove pot from the oven and let potatoes cool.
Remove the tender squash from the oven and let that cool.
Once the potatoes have cooled, put them through a ricer if you have one. If not, mash them into a mixing bowl.
Remove the squash flesh from the skin and add it into a food processor. Process until you have a nice puree. Add this puree into a pot on the stove, and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes to remove any excess moisture. Remove it from the heat. Let squash cool, then add into the mixing bowl with the potatoes.
Into the mixing bowl add the egg, salt and Parmesan cheese. Start your mixer, and gradually add in the flour. You do not want to dump in all of the flour, but just enough so that it forms a non-sticky dough. I do this in my KitchenAid stand mixer with a dough hook, allowing me to knead for a few minutes after the dough has came together.
Once the dough is kneaded, lightly flour your work surface, and add the dough onto it. Divide the dough into equal pieces, about 8 will work.
Lightly flour a large baking tray as well.
Take each small ball of dough and gently roll it into a rope shape, about one inch thick. Once you have your rope, cut it into one inch pieces. Using the back of a fork, press into each piece of dough so that you see the fork tine lines (see related blog link for photos if needed). Then place all of the dough pieces onto the floured baking sheet. Repeat until all of the gnocchi have formed.
Lightly cover the sheet with plastic wrap and place into your refrigerator to set up, for about 2 hours.
Once you are ready to make the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
During this time, slowly melt the butter in a skillet on low heat. You are going to go for a browned butter on this sauce, so keep that in mind. We will raise the heat a bit as the gnocchi gets closer to finishing cooking.
Once the water is rapidly boiling, add in about 15-20 of the gnocchi. Give a gentle stir, and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the gnocchi are floating to the top of the water. As soon as they begin to float to the top, raise the heat of your butter to a medium-high heat, and let the butter begin to brown.
Once the butter begins to brown, toss in the sage. It will crack and sizzle, and smell really, really good. If you have never had browned butter sage sauce, well, you will love it. Two of my kids really love it, and that is saying something.
Remove the cooked gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon and add them into the butter sauce. Give a gentle toss, and let this cook for a couple of minutes.
Add more grated Parmesan to your liking, and serve.
Repeat and make more sauce and more gnocchi if you are serving more than two people. Otherwise, you can place the baking pan with the remaining gnocchi into your freezer and flash freeze the leftovers (that’s what I did) for later use.
Not only does this particular butternut squash gnocchi look awesome with that light orange color, but it tastes like fall as my wife had noted. Fluffy and soft pillows of pasta that have that light, not overwhelming, flavor of butternut squash. And it is perfectly balanced by that browned butter sage sauce. This is good. Really, really good. I hope you enjoy.
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