Gnocchi is an Italian dumpling made with flour and a mainstay ingredient (usually potatoes) and another usual suspect, egg. Poached in water and dressed in a light sauce, it is an absolutely delicious pasta. Italians, take a bow!
Gnocchi-making takes some expertise. The flour in the classical gnocchi plays a vital structural role for handling and shape-retention (with egg) in the unforgiving boiling water.
I present here a friendly version that you can knead simply, roll, cut and shape. I strike out the egg and cut the flour down to absolute minimum (just enough to absorb the excess moisture). And, just microwave (instead of poaching) to retain the delicate shape of the dumplings. With squash as the only ingredient -and, potatoes as the invisible delivery agent-, the pristine honeynut, with a dab of EVOO, shines. Enjoy!
Food processor; potato masher or ricer.
- 1 honeynut squash halved lengthwise and the internal pulp and seeds removed
- 3-4 small potatoes
- 1/4 cup flour (buckwheat)
- Seasoning: salt and pepper to taste
- Dressing: EVOO and sea salt
Place the halved honeynut squash with the cut side up on a baking tray. Brush with EVOO. Roast at 400 F for 30 mins. Run the squash, with skin, in the processor.
Wrap the potatoes in damp kitchen paper and microwave for 4 minutes; peel and mash while still warm, mixing in the processed squash. Add the seasoning and the flour to knead lightly. Cut the dough into four equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a rope of 1/2 inch thickness and cut into (roughly) 20 little cylinders. Lightly mark with a fork. Place on a platter and refrigerate till ready to cook.
Cover with damp kitchen towel and microwave 20 at a time for 1 minute. Mix lightly in the dressing and serve.
Notes, hints, tips:
- The recipe makes 20 X 4 = 80 gnocchis.
- Using buckwheat flour and omitting the eggs gives gluten-free, vegan dumplings.
- If the squash is hard to cut, microwave for 2 minutes or so till it just softens enough for the knife to run through.
- The skin of the squash will be in bits but not completely pulverized. if you don’t like this texture, you can remove the peel. My recommendation is to use the peel: it breaks the monotony of a smooth texture. Also, the peel has more nutrients than the interior flesh.
- I used buckwheat flour, but you can use regular white flour. And, even an egg.
- Even just EVOO makes this little gnocchis irresistible. But you could use other elaborate sauces of your liking.
- See the Honeynut Squash Mousse, for an alternative treatment. Simple too.