Friday, 31 May 2013

Ricotta Squash Gnocchi with Sage Butter

These are lovely gnocchi made with butternut squash, ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. I served them with a few sage leaves in a bit of butter and olive oil. You can prepare them all or freeze some for a later date. This is a nice recipe for gnocchi because they are easier to work with then the gnocchi made with potato. The ones with potato can become tough if you work the dough too much where these are more forgiving. They are a light and the sage complements the squash and Parmesan so well.

You will need:
  • 1 cup butternut squash - baked 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese - drained 1 hour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (plus up to another 1/4 cup to roll)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh sage leaves
  • more grated Parmesan for serving

Step 1: carefully slice squash in half with a heavy knife. Rub a bit of olive oil on both sides and bake for 30-45 minutes in a 350 degree F oven until soft.

Step 2: take ricotta and drain in sieve for at least 1 hour to remove some of the water.

Step 3: once squash is cool enough to handle scoop out 1 cup of the soft flesh. You can use a very small squash for this recipe and you can also freeze any leftover squash for another recipe.

Step 4: gather remaining ingredients. Grate Parmesan cheese, measure flour and salt and get out egg from fridge.

Step 5: in a large bowl mix squash, ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese, salt and 1 cup of flour.

Step 6: add remaining 1/2 cup of flour to counter and turn out mixture. Mix by hand to incorporate the remaining flour. I like to use a folding method since the dough is quite wet when you start. A pastry scraper also works well to  scrape up all the ingredients as you are working. If you need a bit more flour you can use up to an additional 1/4 cup or so more. This is a tender, soft dough you do not want it to be hard by adding too much flour. Place finished dough in a covered bowl for at least 1 hour in the fridge before rolling out. You will need some more flour for the counter.

Step 7: Divide dough into 4 and roll each into a long log. When you have the gnocchi the size you like  (mine are slightly larger than my thumb in thickness) slice off pieces with a knife. Place on a floured surface to avoid sticking. The dough is still a bit sticky and by using a sharp knife and basically cutting down and flicking the gnocchi you form enough of a ridge that you don't need to do anything else to them.

Step 8: In a pot of  rolling boiling salted water cook gnocchi until they float. Once they float cook another minute and remove with a slotted spoon.  The total time is around 3-4 minutes.

Step 9: Place boiled gnocchi in a hot pan with a bit of olive oil and a tbsp of butter to saute a few minutes. I also add a few sliced leaves of fresh sage. Let the gnocchi get a tiny hint of brown and plate.

Grate lots of Parmesan shavings, some salt and pepper and I have also made a simple salad of fresh spinach, onions and olive oil and tomato vinegar.

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