Fresh fall produce is my favorite of all seasonal food. It’s hearty and comforting, and we’re all about comfort food here at The More You Dough. While I’ve spent plenty of time already this fall tinkering in the kitchen creating some great pumpkin recipes today is all about pumpkin’s underrated cousin, the butternut squash. Butternut squash has a delicate, sweet squash flavor similar to pumpkin, but is much easier to break down if you’re making from scratch cooking.
There’s something really special and meditative about from scratch cooking that I really appreciate. I like knowing that I hand crafted just about every component of the meal. You won’t find me milling my own flour in the kitchen, or anything like that, but I do cook from scratch quite often. I like using fresh produce as much as I can while it’s in season as opposed to something that comes out of a can I can buy any time of the year. You can too for this recipe, but you’re by no means obligated to. I bought a whole butternut squash, butchered it, boiled it, cooled it, and pureed it. This sounds intensive, but it really doesn’t take all that long. It also makes plenty of puree to save for later in other great fall recipes like our butternut squash pizza that we’ll be sharing a recipe for soon. If that sounds like a bit too much work for you try checking your supermarket for butternut squash puree. Most stores seem to carry it in the baby food aisle.
When I think of hearty dishes it doesn’t get much heartier than gnocchi. Gnocchi is one of the best pastas to make from scratch if you’re just starting to learn, because it’s super easy to make. All you have to do is knead some dough, roll it out, chop it up, and boil it for a few minutes. You can serve your gnocchi as just pillowy little chunks of dough, or add the classic grooves to the dough. Adding the grooves can be a little tricky at first, but I recommend it. They trap a lot of great flavor from the sauce. To see how to make them check out the video below.
We pan seared our gnocchi with some Field Roast vegan sausage to give it an extra flavor, and textural element. Searing it is my preferred method of preparation, but it’s not absolutely necessary as the gnocchi are perfectly ready to eat once you boil them. This gnocchi goes great paired with the white wine cream sauce we included in the recipe. You can use whatever sauce you’d like for the pasta. A lighter colored sauce seems to lend better to this dish as it allows the flavor of the squash to shine instead of competing with it like a red sauce would.
Butternut Squash Gnocchi
- 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 cup butternut squash puree
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- one pinch all spice
- one pinch nutmeg
- one pinch black pepper
White Wine Cream Sauce Ingredients
- 1 cup oat milk
- 1/4 cup vegan white wine
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 shallot, minced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- Break down the butternut squash. Start by peeling it, cut off the ends, slice it in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut it into chunks that are similar in size so they cook evenly.
- Boil the butternut squash for 25 minutes or until it is fork tender. Prepare an ice bath in a large mixing bowl, and place cooked squash in this to cool and halt the cooking process. Drain when cooled.
- Place cooled squash in the food processor, and blend into a puree. If you purchased squash puree you can skip steps 1-3.
- Measure out one cup of the squash puree and place it in a large mixing bowl. Package up the rest of your squash puree to use for future recipes. I put mine in the freezer.
- Add in the all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Stir together to thoroughly incorporate the ingredients.
- Slowly start adding the flour chopping it in with a spoon. Depending on the moisture content of the squash puree you may use a little less or a little more than 2 1/2 cups of flour. Stir until it forms a shaggy dough.
- Continue to slowly add flour, and knead with your hands until the dough stops feeling gummy and sticky. It should bounce back nicely if you poke it.
- Separate the dough into manageable pieces, I separated mine into fourths, and roll them out into long tubes on a floured surface. I like to think this step is pretty similar to making play-doh snakes as a kid. Your snakes should be about 1″-1 1/2″ in diameter. It can be difficult at first, but try to keep them as consistent as possible.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the tubes of dough into small pieces. They should look like little tiny gnocchi pillows that are about 1″-1 1/2″ wide.
- You can stop here, or you can add grooves into your gnocchi. I prefer the grooves, because they hold more of the sauce on the pasta. To do this, find a fork and turn it tines down on a plate. Make sure the fork, work surface, and gnocchi are all well floured. Press the end of a gnocchi down against the base of the tines with your thumb, and flick it down the length of the tines. This can be pretty tricky at first, but you’ll get the hang of it after a few (or if your me a few dozen) gnocchi. I made a short video showing the technique in this post.
- Boil your gnocchi for 2-4 minutes. Make sure the pot is really at a rolling boil when you put the gnocchi in. They’ll bring the water temperature down a lot, so you want to ensure that they still cook quickly and evenly throughout. You can boil half of them at a time to avoid a drastic temperature change. They should float when they’re done. If they’re floating before your timer goes off remove them.
- Immediately place the boiled gnocchi in an ice bath, or under cold running water to halt the cooking process. I use an ice bath to do this. The quicker the better. Nobody wants mushy pasta especially when you spent so much time preparing it.
- While you can eat gnocchi without searing them, I always choose to pan fry them. It imparts a great flavor on them, and allows you to cook up your favorite vegetables in the same pan. I recommend broccoli, or brussels sprouts. We cooked ours up with some field roast vegan sausage, because we didn’t have a lot of veggies in the fridge at the time. Keep some white wine on hand to deglaze the pan while you sear them. If you don’t deglaze they’ll get stuck to the pan and tear. They only take about five minutes to fry up, so wait until your sauce starts reducing to put them on.
White Wine Cream Sauce Directions
- Measure out all of the ingredients before hand. You have to work quickly to keep the roux from burning and the cream from separating, so you want to be able to instantaneously add whatever you need.
- In a sauce pot on low heat add the 1/4 cup vegan butter.
- Add in the minced shallot and garlic, and the red chili flakes once the butter melts down.
- Allow the butter to darken in color, and quickly whisk in the flour.
- Keep whisking and quickly add the oat milk, followed by the white whine and splash of lemon juice.
- Add all other seasonings.
- Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce down. Whisk frequently to prevent burning.
- Sauce should be a creamy texture that flows freely, but is thick enough to stick to your pasta. Remove from heat when finished.
- You can add some of the sauce to the gnocchi while they’re finishing cooking to impart more flavor. This is optional.
- Serve on a plate or in a bowl, and finish with fresh herbs if you’d like.