About a month ago, I attended Bella Cibo’s gnocchi-making class. The class was hosted by Marzia, the owner and creative mind behind Bella Cibo. She was born and raised in Italy and cooks the traditional Italian way. Handmade noodles in her lasagna? Ragu sauce from scratch? She has that covered.
So when she announced that she was hosting a cooking class all about gnocchi, I knew I had to attend. I’d always been interested in making gnocchi, but found the process of making them a little intimidating. Luckily, Marzia’s teaching style takes the guess-work and difficulty out of this seemingly daunting dish.
The butternut squash gnocchi we made were definitely the star of the night/class, so I knew I had to make them again at home. The delicate flavor of the butternut squash combined with the pungent flavours of the sage and prosciutto in the sauce were perfect combinations. I was a bit nervous as to how they would turn out since this was my first time making gnocchi by myself (I completely skipped the more traditional potato gnocchi), and I went straight to a butternut squash type 🙂 But I’m happy to report that they turned out amazing (thanks to Marzia’s great instructions).
I’m sharing a few tips on what I learned about gnocchi-making during this experience, as well as the full recipe. Enjoy!
- I made a butternut squash gnocchi but this recipe would work with any type of squash/pumpkin. Butternut squash has a lot of moisture in it so I had to strain the roasted squash with a tea towel and add TONS of flour to get it to a workable consistency. Marzia suggests to use a green pumpkin which doesn’t have as much moisture and would make it easier to work with. My aunt has also used a plain old orange pumpkin that you carve at Halloween to make her pumpkin gnocchi.
- If you use butternut squash, you’re going to have to add a lot of flour to the squash to dry it out. I usually don’t measure my flour, because there’s so many factors that affect this- ie. temperature, humidity, etc. So I estimated the amount of flour I used. But just use this as a guideline. Add a little but of flour at a time until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
- Since I mentioned how wet the butternut squash is, you’ll need to strain it of its moisture after it’s roasted and before you add your flour. I started with a cheese cloth but found I was losing a lot of the squash through the holes. So I switched to a linen tea towel and that worked a lot better 🙂
- Salt. With this particular recipe, you don’t need to add any salt to the gnocchi or sauce themselves. Between the salt you add to the pasta water, the prosciutto in the sauce, and the parmesan for garnish, that is salt enough.
Now let’s get into the good stuff!
Butternut Squash Gnocchi
Gnocchi recipe serves 4, sauce recipe serves 2
For the gnocchi:
- 2 butternut squash, cut in half, seasoned with 2tbsp evoo, salt, roasted in the oven for 40 mins
- 1 egg
- 5 cups flour* (see note about flour amount above)
For the sauce:
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter
- 8 slices prosciutto, hand torn into small pieces
- 6 fresh sage leaves, hand torn into small pieces
- grated parmesan cheese to garnish
- Once butternut squash has cooled, scoop out of skin into a bowl. Strain the squash of excess moisture using a linen tea towel. Once all squash has been strained of excess moisture, place on to a floured surface. Make a well in the middle of the squash, and crack your egg into the well. Whisk the egg in the well. Once the egg is whisked, with your hands, gently knead the squash and egg together until fully combined. Now start adding flour. I would add about 1/4 cup of flour, then knead, then add more flour, then knead again. I repeated this process until the squash wasn’t sticky anymore (approx 20 mins) and I could easily form a ball of dough. Once you get to this point, your dough is done!
- Now cut a small piece of dough off your larger piece and roll it into a “snake.” Once you have your long piece of dough, cut the piece into approx 3/4 inch pieces. After this, roll each piece on the gnocchi board. This is the method I prefer, but I’ve also seen people get their gnocchi shape with a fork, or even by just rolling them into little balls. It’s completely up to you! It was a little hard describing this step in writing, so feel free to watch this video (at about the 1:40 mark) for any questions you may still have! Your gnocchi are done! All that’s left is to make the sauce.I cooked about half the gnocchi in one batch and froze the rest. The quantities for the sauce are for half of the gnocchi.
- Boil your pasta water. Once water is boiling, add coarse salt (about 3-4 tbsp). Add gnocchi to the water.
- In a large pan that will fit all the gnocchi, melt your butter. As soon as butter is melted, add prosciutto and sage. Turn heat down to low on the sauce.
- By this time, the gnocchi will probably be ready. Once gnocchi rise to the top of the water, you know they’re ready. Using a sieve, transfer gnocchi from the water to your butter, sage and prosciutto sauce.
- Stir gnocchi in sauce and let flavours combine, about 1-2 minutes.
- Plate gnocchi and garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese. You’re done! Congrats 🙂