Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage and Brown Butter

squash gnocchi

Thanksgiving isn’t all about the turkey, yes turkey is all well and good, but to me Thanksgiving is all about the sides! One of my favorite sides are these butternut squash gnocchi.

I’ve been serving them for years at my Thanksgiving table. I normally make them a week or two ahead of time and have them tucked in my freezer until turkey day.

They may be small in size but not in flavor, they’re slightly sweet with the rich flavor of parmesan cheese running through every tender bite.

roasted squash

You start out by roasting your squash, roasting the squash adds to the depth of flavor, when tender and soft cool it down and then scoop out the pulp.

Next you’ll toss it into a food processor until it becomes nice and smooth without any lumps.

forming gnocchi

What I’ve learned over the years is that after processing the squash you’ll see that the squash holds onto some moisture, so a good thing to do is to toss the pureed squash into a sauce pan and cook it down until you see the moisture disappear, maybe five or ten minutes. When you cook some of the moisture out you won’t have to keep adding flour, which in turn could make them too heavy and doughy.

Then you’ll want to make sure to cool the mixture down completely before you start mixing in the flour and other ingredients.

NOTE: I always test my gnocchi before I form all of them. I boil a few just to see if they stay together, this will ensure you that your mixture is sturdy enough and they won’t fall apart and become mushy in the water. Sometimes you might have to add a little more flour. This is a very important step!

 

making gnocchi

No doubt making gnocchi is a labor of love but I can tell you it’s worth every bit of the time it takes, and remember you can make them ahead at your convenience.

butternut squash gnocchi

There is no ricotta or potato added to these gnocchi, it is straight up butternut squash that’s permeating  throughout these tender bundles.

boiled gnocchi

Gnocchi take very little time to cook, always place them into salted boiling water, as soon as they float up to the top they’re basically done. Never ever pour them into a big strainer, you need to hand scoop them out like shown in thee picture above. Gnocchi are very delicate.

pan of gnocchi

A quick toss into toasty brown butter flavored with frizzled sage, if you want you can add a touch of pasta water to loosen the sauce up a bit.

Brown butter sauce is the perfect compliment to these delicious gnocchi!

Thanksgiving plate

My Thanksgiving plate from years past where’s there’s always room for the butternut squash gnocchi, and I should say that the leftovers are just as good the next day!

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Parmesan, Sage and Brown Butter
 
Butternut squash with hints of parmesan in every tender bite!
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Ingredients
  • FOR THE GNOCCHI
  • 1 large butternut squash, around 3 lbs. roasted then pureed to yield 2 cups
  • 1 heaping ½ cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano plus extra for garnish
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon, salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 2 plus cups of all purpose, unbleached flour
  • FOR THE BROWN BUTTER SAUCE
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • a handful of fresh sage leaves
Instructions
  1. Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, drizzle each half with olive oil, salt and pepper and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side down, at 375 until tender and the tip of a knife goes through easily 40 minutes or so.
  2. Scoop the flesh of the squash out and place it into a food processor, puree until completely smooth with no lumps.
  3. Place pureed squash into a sauce pan on medium heat, stirring often to evaporate any moisture that might be showing up in the mixture.
  4. Next cool down that mixture completely, so place the pan into the fridge until completely cooled .
  5. Now you’re ready to start forming the gnocchi.
  6. In a bowl add the pureed squash with parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and egg.. Then add the flour little by little into the mixture and work together by hand. It will be very sticky, you might need to add more flour, or even less, just judge by the feel of the dough, you have to be able to roll it.
  7. Once smooth, flour the work surface, Divide dough into 6 pieces and then roll each piece into a long strip, about ½ inch wide. Cut the strip into ½ inch pieces.
  8. Using a gnocchi board, a fork, the back of a grater or just as is, to create ridges. Place each piece on floured wax paper and repeat with the rest of the dough.
  9. At this point you can freeze them in single layer until solid frozen then place the gnocchi into zip lock bags until ready to use.
  10. When ready to eat, have a large pot of salted water going, when boiling add the frozen gnocchi, (don't let the water boil so so hard, lower it a bit) when they float up to the top, they’re pretty much done, but you can test one to make sure. Always take them out of the water with a hand strainer like a Chinese spider, never pour them into a big strainer, gnocchi are delicate.
  11. You don't ever want your gnocchi to blow up and over cook, they should have a little bite to them.
  12. While the gnocchi is in the water cooking make your brown butter sauce by melting the butter over medium heat, when it starts to to smell nutty and turn golden brown toss in your sage leaves and let them fizzle.
  13. Take your gnocchi from the water with a hand strainer, gently and place them into the brown butter sauce, tossing till covered, If you want to loosen the sauce up a bit, add a little pasta water, then add more parmigiano.
  14. They're ready to eat now!

 

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Cauliflower and Sausage Stuffing

cauliflower stuffing

Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away so it’s time to start talking and planning the big meal and side dishes. Do you have anyone you might be serving this Thanksgiving who is gluten free, keto or doing low carb, if so this is a great option.

Last year I made this cauliflower and sausage stuffing for a gluten free family member, not only she enjoyed it but everyone that tried it loved it, it definitely satisfies your stuffing desire.

It’s made similar to my traditional stuffing with all the same flavors going on except cauliflower florets replace the bread, but the nice thing is you’ll still get crispy bits along the edges ( my favorite part), with fresh and dried herbs mingled between the sausage and all the veggies.

low carb stuffing

I’ve always added breakfast sausage to our stuffing, preferably one flavored with extra sage, it’s tradition over here, so that’s what I’ve added in this cauliflower stuffing.

Feel free to add your favorite type of sausage or eliminate it all together. I do however suggest that you add in some mushrooms as I did to punch up the flavor and give it more bulk.

 

gluten free stuffing

There’s a little bit of prep before like browning the sausage and a quick saute of the veggies, but as far as the cauliflower goes you can toss it in raw as long as the florets are in bite size pieces.

Everything then goes into as buttered casserole dish, like a traditional bread stuffing. This can all be prepped a day or two ahead then popped into the oven with the rest of the other sides on the day your serving it.

cauliflower and sausage stuffing

When it comes out it looks like this, crispy and golden. The cauliflower takes on all the traditional flavors of a bread stuffing but without any bread!

A delicious option for all to enjoy!

Cauliflower and Sausage Stuffing
 
A nice option for those who are gluten free and those preferring to eat less carbs.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 good size medium cauliflower cut into bite size florets
  • 1 lb. breakfast sausage like Jimmy Dean or Bob Evans, in bulk
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 or 5 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 stick of butter
  • ½ to ¾ cup of chicken stock
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • dried sage, thyme, poultry seasoning (optional) salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh sage leaves for garnish
Instructions
  1. Butter the inside of the casserole role dish you'll be using
  2. In a large skillet place remaining butter until it melts then saute the onions, garlic and celery until soft, then add the sliced mushrooms for a couple of minutes.
  3. Place all the sautéed veggies into a large bowl.
  4. Next brown up the sausage in the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and cooking it until you see no pink.
  5. Drain the sausage on paper towels then toss it into the bowl with the sautéed veggies.
  6. Fold into the bowl the bite size cauliflower, raw. If you think its to big you can toss it into the skillet for a couple of minutes to take the rawness away.
  7. Add in the chopped parsley.
  8. Add in the spices, dried sage and thyme and poultry seasoning if using into the mix. Start with 1 teaspoon each and then taste for your preference, adding more if you like plus the salt and pepper.
  9. Place everything into the buttered casserole dish, then distribute the broth all around.
  10. Top with a few fresh sage leaves for garnish.
  11. At this point it's all prepped and you can refrigerate it 1 to 2 days ahead.
  12. When you’re ready to serve, heat oven to 400 degrees.
  13. lightly foil the dish for 15 minutes then remove the foil and continue roasting until cauliflower is tender, golden, the sausage edges have crispy bits.
  14. Ovens do vary so keep checking every 15 minutes or so, you can also stick it under the broiler for a few minutes at the end to get desired golden look if needed.

 

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Kabocha Squash With Parmesan Cream And Thyme

4 squash

I can’t think of a better side dish to have this fall, one that includes kabocha squash. Have you tried it yet? Kabocha is a rich tasting squash and it tastes like a cross between a sweet potato and pumpkin, it’s vitamin rich and even low in carbs.

This dish is foolproof to make, when the squash is cut into quarters and the seeds scooped out ( which you can roast) it becomes the perfect vessel to hold the parmesan and thyme cream sauce.

This can easily be served during the week or set out on a platter for the holidays.

market squash

You might be intimidated and think how am I going to cut this! Well you definitely have to be safe. One way is you can stick the whole squash in your microwave for a couple of minutes to soften it, doing that will make it much easier to cut.

What I often do is take my knife, make a slit then cover the top of the blade with a tea towel, then take a mallet and pound it until it breaks through, it’s very safe that way and no fingers are involved.

parmesan cream sauce

When parmesan and thyme meet together it’s a match made in heaven, the flavors meld together perfectly!

cream and thyme

Of course this sauce would work with acorn, honey nut and butternut squash as well but if you haven’t tried kabocha, I urge you to give it a try.

Kabocha Squash With Parmesan Cream And Thyme
 
The perfect fall side dish
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 kabocha squash cut into quarters, scooping out the seeds and pulp. Follow instructions on blog post above for a safe way to cut it.
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup of grated parmesan
  • 12 sprigs of thyme
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the squash into quarters then drizzle all sections with olive oil and sprinkling of salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast at 375F oven. When you see a rich golden color on the outer edge flip the squash over.
  2. In the meantime mix together the heavy cream, the parmesan and some thyme leaves.
  3. Then I like to transfer the squash into a baking dish where they fit somewhat tightly together, right side up, then gently spoon the cream sauce into the cavities.
  4. Place thyme sprigs all over each filled quarter.
  5. Place back into the oven until cream thickens and squash is tender.
  6. Depending on the size of your squash time varies , keep checking it.
  7. You made have leftover cream sauce or not enough again according to the size of your squash.
  8. Scoop and enjoy!

 

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