Little dumplings waiting for their boiling bath!
With some chopped chives and parmesan sprinkled on top! Heavenly taste...
I am a big gnocchi fan. Any type, cooked most any way! But the big taste determiner for me is whether they're homemade (or in a restaurant, house-made) or not. "Not" usually means heavy and floury. Made from scratch means lighter, softer, melt-in-your-mouthier. Yum.
So I discovered this recipe for ricotta gnocchi, and another one, and then finally this one (from Martha Stewart, no less) that incorporated butternut squash into the recipe as well. That's always a bonus with me. But none of the recipes were going to work completely on their own to meet my tastes, so I combined a little of one with a little of another, and the most enjoyable lunch was born. And the sweetest thing of all was how easy it was--this wasn't any all-day pasta-making marathon, by any means.
I went with low-fat ricotta and it behaved quite nicely in place of the whole milk variety. If I had more butternut squash on hand, I'd probably have added a bit more of that as well. It was a little mild on the squash flavor, and color-wise was paler than I'd have liked, too. I knew when I added the whole wheat flour that the color would muddy up a bit, but it was worth it to try the less-processed flour, and I am partial to the nuttier flavor of whole wheat, too. All in all, a quite healthy version of gnocchi!
Ricotta and Butternut Squash Gnocchi
(serves 4-6 depending on portion size...)
1 (16-ounce) container of low-fat ricotta
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed roasted butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon salt/
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour + extra for your hands and cutting board
In the bowl of a food processor, mix the ricotta, egg and butternut squash until well combined. Scrape contents into a large bowl and mix in the flour and salt until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Check the dough by pinching a bit. It should be a bit tacky. If it clings to your fingers too much, incorporate more flour one tablespoon at a time until you reach a workable consistency. Before shaping, put a large pot of water on the stove to bring to a boil. Sprinkle a baking sheet with flour and set it close to your work space.
Sprinkle your hands and work surface with a little flour. Break off a small orange-sized piece of the dough and roll it into a thick log about 3/4-inch thick.
Cut the log into 3/4" pieces. You can shape them if you want to look more traditional--I left them as natural little pillows...
Transfer this batch to the baking sheet and toss with flour to prevent sticking. Repeat rolling process with the remaining dough.
Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and a third of the gnocchi. Gently stir the gnocchi to make sure they don't stick. Once they bob to the surface, let them cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon and transfer to a colander set over a bowl to finish draining.
I wanted to fry them up lightly with some sage and brown butter, but there was no sage in the house... so I went with a lovely rosemary grapeseed oil that I've used with great success in other recipes, and they fried up splendidly. I boiled and fried up the whole batch so that they wouldn't stick to each other horribly in the fridge.
To top, I grated some parmesan over the top with some chopped fresh chives, and it was glorious!