Dinner Lidia Bastianich

Butternut Squash Gnocchi in Sage Butter Sauce

These pale orange gnocchi make a perfect first course to a holiday meal. The gnocchi can be formed ahead of time. Dust them with flour and freeze them, in one layer, on a well-floured baking sheet. Once they’re frozen solid, they can be frozen in a plastic freezer bag until ready to use. When boiling frozen gnocchi, make sure you use lots of water so it will come back to boil quickly; otherwise, the gnocchi may clump together.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6) 

For the Gnocchi:

  • 1 pound chunk of Butternut Squash (about half a medium squash)
  • 1 tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 medium russet potatoes (as 12 ounces)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Grana Padano
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

For the Sage Butter Sauce:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Grana Padano, plus more for serving

Instructions for Butternut Squash Gnocchi in Sage Butter Sauce

  • For the gnocchi, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Scoop seeds from the squash, and place in a baking pan, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake until tender throughout, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool.
  • When it is cool, scrape the flesh from the squash, set in cheesecloth, and let hang or set in a strainer in the refrigerator to drain for about 2 hours. You should have about ¾ to 1 cup of squash.
  • Cook the potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, let cool until you can peel them, then peel and press through a ricer into an even layer on your work surface.
  • Let cool completely. You should have about 2 cups of potatoes. Pass the drained squash through the ricer as well.
  • In a large bowl, combine the squash, potatoes, grated cheese, egg, salt, and nutmeg, and mix until smooth. Sprinkle in 1 ¼ cups of the flour, and mix to combine. Dump the dough onto your work surface, and knead until it comes together. If the dough is still sticky, add the remaining ¼ cup flour (or more, if your squash was very wet), and knead just until smooth.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Divide dough into eight equal pieces. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Sprinkle parchment lightly with flour. Working with one dough piece at a time, roll the dough out on a floured surface to about a ½-inch-thick rope. Cut rope crosswise into ¾–inch pieces.
  • Working with one piece at a time, roll gnocchi along the back of fork tines dipped in flour, making ridges on 1 side and a dimple on the other. Transfer the gnocchi to the floured baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • When you’re ready to cook the gnocchi, make the sage butter sauce. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and cook until they begin to crisp and the butter is just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the pasta water and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, 3 or 4 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi in two batches in boiling water, giving them just a couple of minutes more after they all float to the surface. Remove with a spider and transfer to the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, remembering that the pasta water was salted.
  • Sprinkle with the grated cheese, toss and serve, passing more cheese at the table.
  • Enjoy Lidia’s Butternut Squash Gnocchi in Sage Butter Sauce!

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