Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Garlic Butter & Sage Sauce

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This weekend I…

Played golf for the first time – whee!

Well, if you count driving the golf cart and drinking beer (not too many, don’t worry) “playing golf” then yes, I am more than ready to be called up to the next Ryder cup team. Bahaha!

Friday night Ben took me to one of his favorite courses to play a round after work, and I was seriously baffled by what I’d been missing. An outdoor activity where driving miniature electric cars on the grass with a cooler is not only allowed, but encouraged?! Mind = blown. First of many rounds to come.

This weekend I…

Celebrated a few birthdays with the fam! Ben is turning THIRTY next Sunday, and my Mom celebrated her birthday last week, so everybody came together Sunday afternoon to partay.

Aka, fawn over the babies, and eat lots of Pepperidge Farms birthday cake, which my Dad sliced before my Mom and Ben could blow out the candles…bad form! (Hence Ben’s mean mug?! ;) )

We also did a Google hangout with my little brother in Denver, whose birthday was also last week. OMG I CANNOT GET OVER THIS! We used the hangout’s special effects to add pirate hats, snorkels and mustaches to ourselves, then proceeded to laugh for an hour straight. Priceless!

This weekend I…

Ate unethical amounts of homemade Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Garlic Butter & Sage Sauce. YES! Plump, sweet, butternut squash gnocchi are cooked then tossed with melted butter flavored with sizzling garlic and fresh sage, then inhaled. Over, and over, and over.

I picked up a couple beautiful, organic butternut squash at Whole Foods on Saturday, knowing exactly what they’d be used for: a big ol’ batch of both Butternut Squash Ravioli and this homemade gnocchi to stash in the freezer. Not only are these two meals absolutely mouthwatering, but they’re total lifesavers on busy weeknights. Just pull out of the freezer, and cook. No thawing required.

Aside from filling up the freezer, a couple people asked me to profile a few fall and winter squash varieties this season, and I couldn’t think of a squash better than a butternut to start a newbie out with. Butternut squash are easy to find, work with, and roast like a dream. The flesh gets super sweet and becomes velvety-smooth when mashed or processed, which makes it perfect for using in dishes like gnocchi.

Look for butternut squash that are heavy for their size, oblong and elongated (rather than short and fat,) and have smooth, tan skin.

Aside from the squash part, I know gnocchi can also be intimidating. It’s true that the process of making gnocchi takes a few hours, but you can stretch it out over a few days, and the actual act of forming the gnocchi is not difficult. Homemade gnocchi are great for people on a budget – just squash, flour, egg, and salt – and they’re also great for people who cook for one or two. Make a big batch of gnocchi and freeze, then pull out whatever you need, whenever you need it, and cook the same was as you would fresh.

If I haven’t scared you off yet (sheesh!) homemade butternut squash gnocchi with garlic butter & sage sauce is worth ANY amount of elbow grease because it is indescribably delicious, and tastier than any white or sweet potato version I’ve ever had, due to the super sweet flesh of the butternut. You will LOVE these babies!

Start the Butternut Squash Gnocchi by roasting a gawgeous butternut squash. In addition to the taste, I also love BNS (and most other squash varieties, for that matter,) because they are so ridiculously inexpensive. This 3lb-er here made a gazillion gnocchi, and only cost $1.60!

Wash and dry the butternut squash then pierce the “bulbous” end a few times with a sharp knife. Microwave the squash on a plate for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through, to soften it up a bit and make it easier to slice the top and bottom off, then cut it in half lengthwise.

Scoop the seeds out with a spoon then place the squash halves cut side up on a baking sheet. Brush with extra virgin olive oil, season liberally with salt & pepper, then roast at 400 degree for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the squash meets no resistance. You won’t believe how yummy and caramelized these babies get in that super-hot oven. SO YUM.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, peel the skin off then place the flesh into a food processor and process until very smooth. That’s another thing I love about roasting butternut squash – it gets sooooo silky and luscious. I almost can’t handle it.

K, now, the butternut squash puree will be pretty moist and liquidy so, to make sure we don’t have to add a ton of flour to the gnocchi (which would result in a tough gnocchi,) pour the puree into a large saucepan over medium heat and cook out some of the moisture for about 10 minutes. You don’t have to babysit this – just give it a stir every so often, until the puree isn’t so moist. I learned this trick on an episode of America’s Test Kitchen last year. (Heart that nerdy show!) :)

Once the moisture in the puree has cooked out, spread it onto a large plate and let it chill in the refrigerator.

The puree doesn’t have to be perfectly cold, but the gnocchi will be really tough to roll out if the dough is warm.

When the puree is cold, measure out 2 cups puree (should be just about all of it) place it in a large bowl, and then stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 whisked egg.

Next stir in 2-1/4 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. (You may need more or less flour depending on how moist your squash is.)

Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured surface then knead a few times to bring everything together. It’s ok if the dough is still a little sticky at this point.

Cut a hunk of the dough off then roll into a rope and cut into 1″ pieces.

Typically, in the case of potato gnocchi, you would then roll the pieces over the back of a fork or gnocchi paddle to create the signature grooves on top and sauce-trapping pocket in back, but, I don’t know…I kind of like leaving my non-potato gnocchi a little rustic, shall we say. (Read: I was feeling lazy.)

Continue rolling and cutting the rest of the dough, placing the gnocchi on a foil or waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Now you can either freeze the gnocchi on the baking sheet until frozen solid, then pop them into a freezer bag to cook later, OR you can cook the gnocchi fresh! NOTE: cook frozen gnocchi the same as fresh – ie do not thaw first.

To cook the gnocchi (again, either fresh or frozen) bring a big pot of water to a boil, then lightly salt. Add the gnocchi about 1 cup at a time, then turn the heat down so you have a gentle boil. When the gnocchi float to the top about 2-3 minutes later – they’re done!

Transfer the gnocchi to a skillet of minced garlic and fresh sage that have been sauteed in a little butter. I KNOW.

Toss the gnocchi to coat in the garlic butter & sage sauce, then plate up and get down wit yo’ bad, gnocchi-eating self.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Garlic Butter & Sage Sauce

Print this recipe!

Serves 8

Ingredients:

For the gnocchi:
3lb butternut squash
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, whisked
2-1/4 cups flour, plus more for rolling

For the Garlic Butter & Sage Sauce (for two, 1-cup servings):
2 Tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, minced
7-8 leaves fresh sage, chopped
salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce bulb end of butternut squash with a sharp knife several times then microwave for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through. Slice top and bottom off squash, then cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Place squash halves cut side up on a foil-lined baking sheet then brush with extra virgin olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the squash meets no resistance.
  2. When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop from peel and place in a food processor. Process until very smooth (or mash by hand) then place puree in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook until it is no longer extremely moist, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread squash puree on a plate then refrigerate until cool (doesn’t have to be cold – but will be more difficult to roll out.)
  3. Measure out 2 cups cold squash then place in a large bowl and stir in whisked egg and salt. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, and stir until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn out onto a heavily floured surface and knead until dough comes together. (Dough might be sticky, just keep flouring hands lightly.
  4. Remove large hunks of the dough then roll into a rope and cut into 1″ sections to form the gnocchi. Place onto a wax paper or foil-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid then transfer to a freezer bag, or cook gnocchi immediately. Cook frozen gnocchi the same as fresh (do not thaw.)
  5. To cook gnocchi: Bring a large pot of water to a boil then salt lightly. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add garlic and sage. Cook until garlic is just starting to turn golden brown.
  6. Add 1 cup gnocchi at a time and to the salted, boiling water, then cook at a gentle boil until gnocchi float to the top, about 2 minutes. Transfer using a slotted spoon or spider to the garlic butter & sage sauce. Cook remaining gnocchi then add to the skillet. Season with salt & pepper then toss to coat, and plate.

Tender, salty, sweet, and decadent, you will adore having a big ol’ bag of these hanging out in your freezer, ready to be cooked in the time it takes to boil water. :) Obsessed!

Reminder…

Just a little reminder that I will be hosting a little meet up with free nibbles at the Panera on University Ave in West Des Moines, tomorrow from 7-7:45pm. Anyone and everyone is welcome! :D

~~~~~

What are your favorite squash varieties, and dishes to make with them?

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Comments

  1. nic. 10.01.2012

    CAN. NOT. WAIT. to make this!!!

  2. Emily 10.01.2012

    This looks so delicious! I didn’t realize it was freezer friendly…awesome!

  3. Cher @ Weddicted 10.01.2012

    I love to cut butternut squash into pieces and toss it with olive oil, paprika, cayenne, garlic, and some brown sugar. SO good. Just had it for dinner, actually!

  4. I have never made gnocchi before, but this recipe looks too good (and too easy) to NOT try! Sounds like a perfect rainy day activity!

  5. GENIUS! And gorgeous photos. Love the google hangout pics – so fun!

  6. Yes!!! I have been really wanting to tackle gnocchi, but I have been waiting for fall to come along so I can use butternut squash or sweet potatoes. There is definitely going to be a Saturday in my future spent making a whole batch of these for the freezer! Love it!

  7. Haley S 10.01.2012

    YUM YUM YUM. I can barely stand myself this looks SO delish! I want to make this NOW! (:

  8. Benjamin 10.01.2012

    Even better: do this with a butter, sage, and CINNAMON sauce!

  9. jennyv 10.01.2012

    Butternut squash ravioli is amazing @ Biaggi’s… therefore, I can only imagine that homemade butternut squash gnocci is the bomb!

    Side note – fabulous street! Love when trees make a tunnel and such great colors!

  10. You blow me away with your recipes! These look and sound amazing!!! I’ve never made gnocchi. And your pics are simply gorg. YOU NEED TO DO A PHOTOGRAPHY POST!!!!!!!!!! :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.02.2012

      You are seriously the most patient person in the world, Liz!! I’ve been trying to get a photography post together for awhile but just don’t know where to start since I really don’t know much about my camera…I will keep plugging away at getting something up for you though!! :)

  11. Lauren 10.01.2012

    I know you’ve made gnocchi before but you always make it look so easy!!! Tell me it’s that easy, really, because I think I need to make my own.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.02.2012

      You would be a gnocchi making PRO, Lauren! It takes a little bit of time, but isn’t hard. Promise! :)

  12. These look incredible!! I just roasted a butternut squash the other day but ate it on it’s own. I must transform it next time!

  13. Barb Szabo 10.01.2012

    My husband loves gnocchi but plain ones really have no nutritional value so I love these for the extra vitamins we will get!

  14. This looks so different in a good way!! I’m definitely making this ASAP!!

  15. Felicia 10.01.2012

    This looks amazing!!!!! But Girlfriend, its time to put your summer plates away:) I want to see some pretty autumn ones!!!

  16. CJ 10.01.2012

    Your amazing with the amount of effort you put to each post, and i thank you for that. This one is lovely as always, also wanted to add that I’m addicted to your site.
    Your pictures are A+++, make want to eat it off the screen. thanks

  17. nosogirl 10.01.2012

    This looks amazing! I pinned it and plan to make it very soon!

  18. Brandy 10.01.2012

    Yum!!! I just purchase an organic Kabocha for a steal…been wondering what to do with it and now i know! I think I’ll give your Gnocci a try :-)
    Great tip on microwaving the butternut for a bit to make it easier to cut…thank you!

    • Brandy 10.01.2012

      PS – made the Orchard Turkey Burgers for dinner yesterday…deeeee-lish!!!

  19. Sam 10.01.2012

    These look so delicious!! I have Bob’s Red Mill AP Gluten Free Flour. Do you think I can sub that in for the normal AP flour that you use here? I’m sensitive to gluten but would love love love to give these a try!

  20. Karla 10.01.2012

    What a fun, family-filled weekend! And this gnocchi dish looks AMAZING. I’m a squash fiend this time of year, so I can’t wait to try this out. Thanks so much for the recipe, Kristin!

    Sorry I can’t make the fun meetup tomorrow, but have an absolute blast! Looking forward to catching up soon. :)

  21. I made something just like this with sweet potatoes and it was a sage cream sauce. So yummy for all! Your recipe looks awesome!

  22. Praew 10.02.2012

    Wow! I just realize that making gnocchi is not as complicated as I saw on TV. You have so many useful tips. I just made Thai style stir-fried pumpkin yesterday. I still have some Thai pumpkin left in the fridge. I will definitely try this ngocchi recipe using Thai pumpkin. Can’t wait!!!

  23. Jacki 10.02.2012

    Would love to meet you at Panera but think I would be late for work in Dubuque. I may have to stop by for a bagel and be there in spirit!

  24. Rachel Cooks 10.02.2012

    This gnocchi looks so fantastic! Yum!

  25. Becca 10.02.2012

    Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try.
    I live in NE Iowa and the trees look the same here…its wonderful!
    I bet the ravioli and the gnocchi would be delicious with a brown butter sauce too…mmmm!

  26. Life's a Bowl 10.02.2012

    You always have the most beautiful photos and the most delicious recipes- your husband must be a happy man! I loveee butternut squash [and have some that needs to be eaten, thanks for the reminder] and gnocchi- the two combined sounds wonderful!!!

  27. omg can’t WAIT to try this – I’m so excited!!!

  28. I have made sweet potato gnocchi and pumpkin gnocchi but never butternut! But I love butternut ravioli so it has to be good.

  29. Trish 10.02.2012

    I have never made gnocchi and I’ve never tried butternut squash (lame, I know), but this post inspires me to do both! On a side note, we go to all the home Hawkeye games and love tailgating. What is your favorite tailgate food?

  30. Yum! This looks so amazing. I really want to make this dish this Fall season! I wonder if pumpkin gnocchi will be just as good. Pumpkin and squash…..can’t go wrong with either!

  31. I can’t wait to make this! I have 3 huge butternut squash at home.

  32. I need my kitchen back so I can make this! Yum! Glad my brothers and I aren’t the only ones who go on Google Hangout and play with the “props” :)

  33. I think this will be my big weekend meal. I love butternut squash!

  34. Madeleine 10.02.2012

    Those gnocchi look amazing!

    Kristin, I meant to post a comment about this a few weeks ago, but I’m 90% sure your (older) brother was at a conference I worked a few weeks ago in Chicago. I was there for my publishing house, and the first day I saw this guy walking around and thought, “Man, he looks SO familiar!” It didn’t take me long to realize where I recognized him from, and I instantly felt about 10 times creepier, haha. I never ended up saying hi, because I figured I’d trip over my tongue and say something along the lines of, “I’ve seen pictures of your family on the internet!!” I’m sure he’s gotten it before, though! :)

  35. Mandy 10.02.2012

    Roasted butternut squash my FAVORITE. I like it mashed or in soups, risotto, sandwiches, salads, pasta… I haven’t made gnocchi yet so I’ll have to try this. I found out about your blog from my cousin who lives in Des Moines and I love it!

  36. Trisha 10.02.2012

    This. Looks. So. Good. I just whipped up a spaghetti squash casserole that now seems so incredibly subpar as far as squash recipes are concerned. But I’ll blog about it in a bit regardless. ;)

  37. Jenny 10.02.2012

    Just made these!! I’m storing them in the freezer for tomorrow’s dinner. Already looking forward to it #delayedgratification :)

  38. Vanessa 10.02.2012

    Looks fabulous! I have a couple butternut squash begging to be made into gnocchi this weekend. I am thinking I may have to throw a little Maytag blue on those fantastic little gnocchi for a little twist too! Maybe bacon…hmmm..maybe both. Decisions, decisions! Thank you for the perfect recipe!!:)

  39. Jaclyn from Australia 10.03.2012

    I made this for myself and my husband today. I couldn’t believe how yummy they were. First time making gnocchi and I can confidently say, I will be making this recipe again :)

    I love your blog btw :) xx

  40. Danielle 10.03.2012

    I made this recipe last night and it was amazing! It was my first time having butternut squash and my first time making gnocchi! Success! :) Soooooooooo good and can’t wait to have them again! Love that I can just pull these out of the freezer and cook in no time for an easy dinner!

  41. [...] same night that I made this, I clicked over to Kristin’s blog discovered that she had made a seriously drool-worthy butternut squash gnocchi. I think it’s safe to say I’ll be testing out that recipe soon [...]

  42. Soo I didn’t wait until a Saturday — I used this as a basis for my own version earlier this week! I used sweet potatoes, microwaved them to save on time (plus my apartment was 87 degrees this week!!) and shredded them with a box grater instead. They turned out great, and your photos and instructions definitely helped!

  43. [...] just as long. It’s been torture. I finally surprised him with the tickets last weekend after his birthday lunch, and I cannot wait to see his face when they kick off on Saturday night. WHEE!So, open road, here [...]

  44. Rebekah 10.05.2012

    I made this today and it was so good! I needed a lot of extra flour because the dough was pretty sticky…but other than that it was an easy introduction to my first gnocchi-making experience. I’m glad to have extra in the freezer for easy lunches!

  45. lisa 10.06.2012

    I spent what felt like all day making these and they are so worth it! A few notes…my squash must have been twice the size of yours, because I got 4 cups of puree so I just doubled the recipe and have twice as much in my freezer. That’s probably also why it took so much longer to roast (or maybe it had something to do with high altitude we live in?). Next time i will probably buy the pre-cut butternut squash from TJ’s to make the process quicker and use an immersion blender because my little 4-cup food processor was too small. I cut them with kitchen shears, worked great!

  46. Donna Boudreau 10.07.2012

    I made these tonight along with the apple cake. I’m getting rave reviews from my husband. It was so good!

  47. [...] Squash Gnocchi!  I wish I could take credit for this tasty recipe but I got it from Iowa Girl Eats blog.  I’m obsessed with her recipes and all her amazing [...]

  48. [...] their words of wisdom and try to make it into one epic combination of all their ideas. When I saw butternut squash gnocchi on Kristin’s (Iowa Girl Eats) blog, she made it seem so simple that I knew I had to try it. I looked up a couple of other recipes, as [...]

  49. [...] me just say – I felt so accomplished that I made my OWN butternut squash gnocchi with the help of Iowa Girl Eats recipe.  It was a lot of work, but when it was paired with that garlic-y, sage butter sauce – [...]

  50. Lauren 10.12.2012

    This looks delicious… I make a similar recipe with sweet potatoes instead of butternut squash. Will have to try this variety!

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