A few months later at my uncle’s house, I attempted squash gnocchi. They weren’t much better. Thankfully, the audience was equally supportive as I tried to fumble my way through dinner.
Though, I’ve mastered many complicated dishes since graduating from culinary school, I still harbor a little trepidation about squash gnocchi. These winter vegetables straddle into the “starch” classification, but don’t have the binding qualities that Idaho potatoes have, making them more challenging than regular potato for gnocchi and other dumplings. And like the spinach and bell peppers of the mousse fiasco, they have a high water content which requires extra flour as a binder, and can cause leaden dumplings.
A few weeks ago, I decided to tackle the squash gnocchi again. I figured that 20 years was enough time to get over the old wounds and develop a repertoire of skills to get me through.
My first attempt was a mediocre at best… based on my research, I thought I’d be able to roll out the gnocchi by hand as I do with regular potato. The dough was so wet that I kept adding flour and more flour… to the point that I knew I’d have dense dumplings (and based on the comments from my matzah ball post, I know that a loud minority actually prefer this).
Attempt #2: I got the brilliant idea to pipe the dough into the boiling water. This allowed for a wetter, lighter dough, and worked much better. I served these with roast duck, but the duck skin cracklings stole the show.
Since I wanted to blog about these, I recreated this recipe for Thanksgiving. And as delicious as they were, they were upstaged a second time. This time, I tossed them with Brussels sprouts from the garden which were roasted with bacon.
The dumplings are great, but are easily upstaged.
1 butternut squash
1 acorn squash
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder (optional)
1 cup chicken broth or 2 tbs. butter
1. Cut squash in half. Put on a baking sheet, cut side down. Add water to the pan, and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until squash are tender. It may be necessary to add more water to the pan if it all evaporates.
2. Let squash cool. Scoop out seeds and discard.
3. Scoop out pulp into a food processor and blend until smooth. Measure out one cup of puree (set aside the remainder for soup or another favorite recipe). Add flour, eggs, curry powder, salt and baking powder. Blend in food processor minimally, just until smooth.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt.
5. Fill a piping bag with a large plain tip. Fill with gnocchi filling. Gently pipe out ¾” logs, and then cut off into the water with a butter knife. Boil for 2 minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon into a dish with either the butter or chicken broth (this will keep the dumplings from sticking together before serving.
6. It may be necessary to cook the dumplings in batches.
Serve with Brussels sprouts, duck or turkey.