Carnival Squash Gnocchi

November 7, 2011 § 4 Comments

Gnocchi is the first pasta that I learnt to make as it is fairly simple and contains only 3 ingredients, squash, flour and salt. My kids love pasta and often ask me to make it for dinner. I prefer more vegetables and less noodles in my pasta, where my kids love more noodles with less veggies and lots of cheese. I am very diligent in ensuring that my children’s nutritional needs are being met and rarely do they get to eat pasta their way. Well, that was not until I started making squash gnocchi. This recipe makes 4 servings which means that each serving contains three-quarters of a cup of roasted squash.

Squash is high in fibre and low in fat and calories. Squash contains vitamin A and C, manganese, potassium and omega 3 fatty acids. As a kid I was told that squash was good for me and was frequently served a large plate of squash curry for dinner. Fortunately my kids did not have to suffer the same fate as me. Squash is naturally sweet and if cooked correctly, kids will appreciate the flavor of squash. It is easy to hide a few chunks of roasted squash into a tomato sauce or even mashed potatoes. For Thanksgiving, I roasted carnival squash with olive oil and salt and my kids loved it.

Probably the easiest way to get your kids to eat squash is in the form of pasta. This squash gnocchi recipe is very popular in my house and the left overs do not last more than a day. If you have left over dough or uncooked gnocchi, you can store them in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you like you can double the batch and freeze the gnocchi. Simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the gnocchi in a single layer. Toss the tray in the freezer for an hour and transfer the gnocchi into a freezer safe container.

Serves 4
Cooking time 2 hours

Ingredients:
3 cups (750 ml) roasted carnival squash
2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
tomato sauce
grated Parmesan cheese
water for boiling

Directions:

1. Carefully cut the carnival squash along the grooves and scrape out the guts.

2. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and arrange squash slices on the tray. Bake at 375 degrees celsius for 60 minutes or until roasted.

3. Allow the squash to cool completely and for the moisture to evaporate, about 2-3 hours. The cooler the squash, the less flour you will need which will result in a moisture and more delicate gnocchi.

4. Peel the skin off the squash.

5. Transfer the squash into a bowl and mash it up.

6. Add the flour in 1/4 cup increments and mix the dough. Feel free to play around with the amount of flour. Add more flour to make the gnocchi more doughy and pasta like. Or use less flour to make a more delicate and moist gnocchi which will result in a richer squash flavor.

7. Lightly flour the bowl and knead the dough for a couple of minutes.

8. When I work with dough, I like to have a handy pile of flour that I can easily access and as you can see, it’s at the corner of my working board. Lightly flour your hands and pull about a 1/4 cup of dough from the bowl. Roll the dough in your hands and form into a small ball. Sprinkle flour onto your work surface and roll out the ball into a long tube. The thinner you roll the tube, the smaller the gnocchi. Traditionally at this stage you cut the pasta with a knife or clip it with your fingers and run a fork along the back edge to create horizontal lines. I prefer to pull off a piece of dough and roll the gnocchi in my palms. After you have formed your gnocchi, lightly flour it and set aside.

9. Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. When the water boils, carefully drop the squash gnocchi into the pot.

10. The gnocchi is ready when they are floating at the top. The cooking time varies depending on the size of the gnocchi. Small gnocchi can take 2-3 minutes and larger from 5-7 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to drain the gnocchi and place in a serving bowl. 

11. Immediately pour hot tomato sauce on top of the squash gnocchi and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

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