January 22, 2014
Butternut Squash Gnocchi
Every time I sit down to write here I come back to the same thing. Most of the time I just want to write about the way that I try to appreciate and be in the good moments, the often fleeting minutes, hours or days when things are almost just exactly right. The times when I feel even a little bit of balance between the tasks of daily life and finding a little bit of time for my creative work. But it's not just these times, it's the contrast between the good and the hard and the way that I have learned to so much better appreciate the moments knowing how quickly they will pass.
I guess I just can't help but return to these thoughts again and again. I have recently been asking myself how I can possibly do everything I want to do creatively along with everything else in my life that I need and want to accomplish. I have been wondering if I should let go of some of the many directions that my creative pursuits pull me towards but I can't yet imagine losing any one of them. So I continue to wobble and circle and wander the way that feels and works best. Some days I feel accomplished and fulfilled, most other times I feel like I have no idea what I am doing.
Returning to the kitchen, as I do daily, is a way to feel more grounded and focused on the basic tasks at hand. For the most part, standing at the counter, I do know what I am doing. There is room for endless creativity but my endeavors in the kitchen are straightforward and mostly practical and I always appreciate the results. I can't let go of the other ways that I want to create but I am so glad to return to cooking again and again.
I've been wanting to share this butternut squash gnocchi recipe for a while. When I came across a recipe for ricotta gnocchi this fall, I had to try it. I was amazed at how easy it was to make these soft pillows of pasta and I hoped they could be made with squash, too. I know that in the blogging world this recipe should appear in October when squash is on everyone's mind but squash is still delicious in January and usually still available from local farms even when everything else outside is frozen.
Butternut Squash and Ricotta Gnocchi
This recipe makes about 4 servings but you can freeze the uncooked gnocchi until you are ready to eat it, just take it out of the freezer and add it to the boiling water. The gnocchi is best when tossed with garlic butter and sage just before serving (instructions for the butter etc are below). I also enjoyed adding a handful of arugula to the pan when I was tossing the gnocchi with the garlic butter.
8 ounces ricotta cheese
7 ounces butternut squash, cooked and pureed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (+ more for serving)
1 egg yolk
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
dried or fresh sage
Mix all the ingredients together to form a wet dough. Scoop a heaping teaspoon of dough onto a floured surface and shape the dough into a ball. Place the ball of dough on a floured baking sheet. Repeat until all of the dough has been used.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the gnocchi and cook for 5-6 minutes (6-8 minutes if cooking from frozen).
While the gnocchi are cooking, place a saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter for every serving of pasta you are cooking. Add 1 clove of minced garlic for every serving of pasta and about a teaspoon of ground dried sage or chopped fresh sage per serving. Reduce the heat as needed to keep the garlic from burning. When the gnocchi are done cooking, gently remove them from the water and place them in the saute pan. Toss to coat with garlic butter and sage. Serve immediately topped with grated Parmesan if desired.