Gnocchi is a traditional pasta we handcraft in my Italian family. I remember the first time I helped my mom make gnocchi from scratch -- eagerly following her direction. Every Sunday morning, Ma prepared a fragrant tomato sauce (sugo) as we rolled the dough into long lengths of round strands. We then sliced them into 1" pieces and rolled them down over the grooves of a wooden gnocchi paddle board to create their classic ridge texture. They were the best gnocchi I ever tasted!
(You can buy your very own traditional wooden gnocchi paddle from My Favorite Things Shop! Click on the image above for the link.)
Traditionally, gnocchi are made with white potatoes and reign supreme in the pasta carbohydrate kingdom. Yikes! Thankfully, I've cut the carb count by about half in these gnocchi and made them high in vitamin A. All thanks to the addition of butternut squash.
Butternut squash is one of the most popular winter-squash vegetables. Being a member of the pumpkin family, it has a pleasant nutty flavor and mildly sweet taste. It is perhaps the single vegetable source in the Cucurbitaceae family with the highest levels of vitamin A. It has more vitamin A than that in pumpkin!!
Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucusa. It is also an essential vitamin for optimum eyesight.
Whenever possible, buy long neck butternut squash as it contains more meat and fewer hollow cavities and seeds. As in pumpkins, some hybrid squash varieties are generally subjected to insecticide powder or spray.
Therefore, wash them thoroughly in order to remove dirt, soil and any residual insecticides/fungicides.
Cut the stem end and slice the whole squash into two equal halves. Remove central net-like structure and set aside seeds. Then cut into desired sizes.
Save those seeds! Butternut squash seeds are a good source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids that benefit heart health. In addition, they are rich in protein, minerals, and numerous vitamins. The seeds are an excellent source of the amino acid, tryptophan. Whole food sources of amino acids like tryptophan can raise serotonin production and also provide needed calories (energy) that curb fatigue, low blood sugar levels and cravings.
I like to make these gnocchi ahead of time and freeze them in a container for up to three weeks.
Make these with your special somebody and I guarantee they will be the best loved, too!
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 50 min
- 1 small butternut squash sliced and diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions thinly sliced
- 2 cups chopped mixed mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 packed cups chopped kale
- 1⁄3-1⁄2 cup unsalted butter (depends on how saucy you like it...personally I find the ½ cup a little greasy)
- 3 tbsp chopped sage
- 1 cup butternut squash puree
- 3⁄4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp fine-grain sea salt
- 1⁄2 tsp pepper
- ⅔ cup parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
- 1 egg
- 1 ⅔ cups gluten-free flour
Make it Like So
- Slice butternut squash in half, then peel off skin. Dice into 1-inch pieces, then cook for 12-15 min with a bit of water in a large pot (just enough to cover squash).
- Meanwhile, slice onions, mushrooms and chop kale. Mince the garlic and sage. Set veggies aside for later.
- Drain water from squash, then blend in the Vitamix. Reserve 1 cup puree, and save the rest for later - it freezes well!
- Mix together squash puree, nutmeg, salt and pepper, parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, egg and ⅓ of the flour. Keep adding flour in thirds, mixing together with your hands as necessary. It should feel like a soft dough.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions, then cook on med-low heat for 10-15 min until caramelized.
- On a floured surface, break dough into four equal parts. Stretch and roll out each ball into 1-inch thick ropes of dough, breaking in half and continuing to roll and thin out as necessary.
- Meanwhile, add mushrooms and garlic to the skillet of caramelized onions and cook for 5-7 min until all juices release.
- Arrange all ropes of dough in a row then slice into 1-inch thick pieces of gnocchi using a pizza cutter or knife. Optional: Use a wooden gnocchi board paddle with grooves in the surface of the board to give gnocchi their classic texture by gently rolling and shaping the raw dough down on the board. The ridges create grooves in the pasta to hold more sauce.
- Cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2-3 min. Gnocchi should be floating when finished cooking. Drain and set aside briefly.
- Add kale and butter to skillet, cooking for 3-4 min. Stir in cooked gnocchi, then chopped sage.
- Top with grated parmesan cheese or sprinkles of nutritional yeast and enjoy!
- The raw gnocchi freeze well on its own up to three months and can be made ahead of time too!