Winter Squash Gnocchi in Browned Butter Sauce with Fried Sage and Shaved Chestnuts

Remember when I was farmer for a day back in autumn? Remember all of the produce they gave me for my hard work? Well, here is what I came up with to use my winter squash!

It sat on the table for awhile before I made this. I had a little game going on with my family about what color they thought the inside would be.  The winner was…

The guesses were yellow, white and green but I won out with orange. Yay! Anyway, if you cannot find a winter squash, you could substitute either fresh or frozen butternut squash. This meal would made a cozy Sinatra Sunday dinner for a cold winter night. Enjoy!

Winter Squash Gnocchi in Browned Butter Sauce with Fried Sage and Shaved Chestnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 winter squash
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 Cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups of flour plus more for dusting
  • 1/3 Cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Cup of sage leaves
  • 4-5 chestnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter

Equipment Needed: A potato ricer

Instructions

Roast the Chestnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Take chestnuts and make a cut across the round side of each to keep them from exploding, and arrange them on a cookie sheet.
  3. Roast them until the skins have pulled back from the cuts and the nut meats have softened. Exactly how long will depend upon the chestnuts, but at least 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove the nuts from the oven, make a mound of them in an old towel, wrap them up, squeeze them hard — they should crackle. Peel the remaining skin off and let them sit.

Roast the Winter Squash

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel squash using a vegetable peeler. Cut in half and remove insides with a spoon. Cut squash into 1″ pieces.
  3. Brush cubes with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork.

Make the Gnocchi

  1.  Force the squash through the ricer into a bowl and let cool completely. 
  2. Beat together egg, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Lightly flour 2 or 3 large baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Gather squash purée into a mound in sheet pan, using a pastry scraper if you have one, and form a well in center. 
  4. Pour egg mixture into well, then knead into squash. Knead in cheese and 1 & 1/2 Cups of flour, then knead, adding more flour as necessary, until mixture forms a smooth but slightly sticky dough. Dust top lightly with some of flour.
  5. Cut dough into 6 pieces. Form 1 piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rope on a lightly floured surface.
  6. Cut rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Gently roll each piece into a ball and lightly dust with flour.  
  7. Repeat with remaining 5 pieces of dough.
  8. Turn a fork over and hold at a 45-degree angle, with tips of tines touching work surface. Working with 1 at a time, roll gnocchi down fork tines, pressing with your thumb, to make ridges on 1 side. Transfer gnocchi as formed to baking sheets. 

 Fry Sage Leaves and Chestnuts

  1. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Fry sage leaves in 3 batches, stirring, until they turn just a shade lighter and crisp (they will continue to crisp as they cool), about 30 seconds per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt.  (While this is frying, I started boiling the water for the gnocchi.) 
  2. Shave chestnuts thin with a vegetable peeler. Fry them in 3 batches, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 30 seconds per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt. Reserve oil in skillet.

Browned Butter Sauce

Add butter to oil in skillet with 1/2 tsp salt and cook until golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cook Gnocchi

  1. Add half of gnocchi to a pasta pot of well-salted boiling water and stir. Cook until they float to surface, about 3 minutes.
  2. Transfer with a slotted spoon to skillet with butter sauce. Cook remaining gnocchi in same way, transferring to skillet as cooked.

Serve!

Heat gnocchi in skillet with the browned butter sauce over medium heat, stirring to coat. Serve sprinkled with fried sage and chestnuts and grated cheese.

Gnocchi recipe adapted from: Gourmet

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