Butternut Squash Gnocchi With Brown Butter and Sage Sauce

This is recipe test number two. Becky and I are planning on cooking dinner for my mom's birthday, and this was probably the dish that we were most uncertain about.

Gnocchi can be very tricky. For no apparent reason, they sometimes come out as dense, gummy globs of gross. But at their best, they're light and delicious.

Fortunately, when we made this recipe, the gnocchi gods must have been in a good mood, because they were just about perfect. This recipe came from the October 2010 recipe of Bon Appetit, and it's absolutely delicious.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi With Sage Brown Butter

  • 1 1-pound butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 12-14 ounce russet potato, peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 (or possibly more) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Place the squash halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet, and brush them with olive oil. Roast until the squash is extremely tender and browned in a few spots.

Give the squash a few minutes to cool. Scoop the flesh from the squash into a food processor, and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan, and cook on medium-low heat until any excess liquid evaporates - about 5 minutes - stirring constantly.

Transfer the puree to a bowl to cool. Measure 1 cup of puree, and reserve the rest for another use.

Meanwhile, boil the potato in salted water until very tender - about 20 minutes.

While the potato is still warm, press it through a potato ricer. Measure 2 cups of riced potatoes, and save the rest for another use.

Mix the squash puree, riced potato, 1/2 cup parmesan, egg, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add 1 3/4 cups flour. Gnead gently in the bowl until the dough just holds together. If the dough is extremely sticky, add additional flour, a tiny bit (less than a tablespoon) at a time. 

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gnead it gently just until it becomes smooth, then cut it into 8 equal pieces.

 Roll each piece of dough into a rope that's about 1/2 inch thick. 

Cut each rope into 3/4 inch pieces. Roll each individual gnocchi over the back of a fork that's been dipped in flour, to create ridges on 1 side.

Place the gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet in a single layer. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in two batches until tender, 15-17 minutes per batch.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi back to a backing sheet.

In a large skillet, cook the butter over medium heat until it is melted and begins to turn golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the sage and cook for another minute, stirring frequently. Add the gnocchi, and cook until they're heated through, 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer them to a bowl, and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan. Serve with additional parmesan, if desired.