butternut squash gnocchi with garlic-thyme brown butter

butternut squash gnocchi

Now into the third trimester of pregnancy, the baby nursery set up is in full-force around here these days. With so many other items on my to-do list besides cooking, recipes that can be made in large batches and frozen for a quick and easy future dinner have my full attention.

That’s exactly what this gnocchi did for us–one butternut squash turned into 8 amazingly fast servings of gnocchi. I just froze them in individual servings in Ziploc bags. When you’re ready to cook them, you don’t even have to thaw the gnocchi; you just pop them frozen straight into boiling water and they’re ready to eat in about 7-9 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce or try out this garlic-thyme brown butter which really lets the butternut squash flavor shine.

Fair warning: You’ll need some time to make the gnocchi–time to roast & cool the butternut squash and then to shape and cut the gnocchi; however, it sure pays off when you can simply rab a bag of frozen gnocchi and have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH GNOCCHI WITH GARLIC-THYME BROWN BUTTER

  • Inspired by Half Baked Harvest
  • Yields: 8 servings of gnocchi (2 to serve with the sauce and 6 to freeze)

Ingredients:

For the gnocchi:

  • 3 lb. butternut squash *be sure to weigh it if you can; you’ll need to adjust the amount of added flour if yours differs in weight from mine
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for rolling out

For the garlic-thyme brown butter sauce (for 2 servings of gnocchi):

  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, removed from their woody stems
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top at the end

Directions:

  1. For the squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a sharp knife, cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds. On a baking sheet, place the squash cut side-up and brush them each with the extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 50-60 minutes until you can pierce the flesh easily with a fork. Set aside to cool for another 30-45 minutes.
  2. For the gnocchi: Once the squash has cooled, scoop all the flesh into a blender/food processor and puree it until smooth. (You could also add it to a bowl and use a handmixer). Add the pureed squash to the bowl of a standing mixer along with the eggs, Parmesan cheese and salt. Add on the dough hook attachment and begin mixing on low. 1 cup at a time, slowly add in your flour and allow the dough to come together. *IMPORTANT: The dough is going to be sticky, but you want it to eventually pull away from the sides of the bowl. Don’t panic if you end up adding more/less flour than I did. The moisture in your squash may differ slightly. Just be careful not to add too much flour as it will cause your gnocchi to be more dense and less fluffy.
  3. Lightly flour a clean work surface on your countertop and turn out the dough from the bowl. Divide the dough into eighths. Take 1/8 of the dough and roll it into a ball and then into a long rope, incorporating more flour as needed. Using a sharp knife, cut the rope into 1-inch sections to form the gnocchi. Layer each gnocchi single file onto a lightly floured baking sheet or plate or wax paper. Continue with each 1/8 section until all gnocchi has been formed. *At this point, you can freeze them. Be sure to first freeze them in a single file line (versus all piled up) to avoid them sticking together. Once they’ve frozen in the single file lines, you can then combine them into Ziploc bags.
  4. To cook the gnocchi: Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Add the gnocchi–fresh or frozen–(no more than 1/4 of the total gnocchi aka 2 servings at a time). They will sink to the bottom and then float after 5 minutes or so. Once the gnocchi float, turn down the heat to a gentle boil for another 2-3 minutes and drain.
  5. For the garlic-thyme brown butter: You can make this while the gnocchi boils. Add your butter, garlic and thyme to a large skillet over medium high heat and allow the butter to melt. Once it begins to sizzle, turn down the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns a golden brown color which takes about 5-7 minutes. Be careful not to let your garlic burn. Transfer your cooked gnocchi directly to the sauce and toss everything to combine. Taste and adjust your sea salt & freshly ground black pepper as needed. Serve immediately with extra freshly grated Parmesan on top, if desired.

 

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