This post is basically one big ode to fall. And gnocchi. And my husband for taking me out to eat on our Anniversary. We went to the Black Trumpet and this was our main course. My meat-loving husband and I split this for our 15 year Anniversary dinner. It just oozed fall comfort food when we saw it on the menu and that’s pretty much what it is. This will help you get your fall on, I promise.
Also, why aren’t people shouting from the rooftops that homemade gnocchi is SO good and easy? Consider this my rooftop shout.
Remember that scene in Unbroken when he was on the stairs and watching his mother or grandmother making gnocchi in the kitchen, and that memory of comfort sustained him through almost dying in a boat and almost dying in the prisoner of war camp?
When I saw that scene, I was touched by the power of food memory like everyone else but now I know it really is because homemade gnocchi is that good. (RIP Louis).
Gnocchi has FOUR ingredients (five if you use cheese like I did) – you put potatoes that have been boiled and mashed (or grated) on a work surface that’s dusted with flour, then you add flour, make a well, crack an egg, add some salt and for these I added goat cheese and sage, and then you mix it all together with your hands until it forms a dough. It might actually take as long to make and boil these as it takes to boil a box of spaghetti.
This is one of those dishes that you can get all the elements together ahead of time. I cooked the vegetables and made the dough on Sunday and then our tile guys came in to finish our kitchen (yay, I can’t wait to show you all now that it’s done! Post coming soon). I didn’t get to roll out the gnocchi until two days later and it was totally fine.
To put the dish together, you just roast the kale (make extra because you will want to nibble on it all day long).
And then you make the butternut squash puree – just add some liquids to thin it out (I used milk, broth and apple cider vinegar) and some butter, salt and pepper.
Then you boil the gnocchi – it only takes 3 minutes to cook, and it nicely floats to the top of the water to tell you its done. Then you melt 2 T. butter in a large pan and cook it until it’s browned.
Then you put these three elements together – which honestly you could have used each part alone or in a million other ways for other dishes, so keep them on hand all fall. Then you sprinkle blue cheese and chopped hazelnuts on top ( look for hazelnuts at a gourmet grocer or try Amazon).
This could be a Thanksgiving side dish, a comfort meal for a friend who had surgery or new baby, or just a date night at home. My older kids loved it, the little ones just wanted the gnocchi.
For the gnocchi:
4 russet potatoes (about 2.5 lbs)
2 1/2 cups flour + more for work surface
4 oz. goat cheese, softened
2 T. chopped fresh sage
1 tsp. salt
Boil potatoes: put peeled potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, then cook for 20 minutes. When fork tender, remove and let dry on a towel.
Using a potato masher or potato ricer, mash potatoes until they are the consistency you would use for mash potatoes. (You can also grate them).
On a work surface coated in flour, pile the potatoes and then add the 2 1/2 cups of flour. In the center of this pile make a well and add goat cheese and egg, beating egg with a fork. Then add sage and salt, and using your hands combine all ingredients well and form into a loaf. Using a sharp knife, slice 1-2 inch strips through the longest side of the dough. Pulling one row apart at a time, roll between your fingers until a thin log is formed. Then cut 1-2 inch pieces of dough to form each gnocchi.
You can boil immediately, for around 3 minutes or until it floats to the top of the water. If you want to serve them later you can lay them on a cookie sheet and put in fridge or freezer until ready to boil. Once frozen they can be stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer.
For the butternut squash:
1 butternut squash, sliced in half, seeds removed
2 T. butter
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/4 apple cider vinegar, optional
Salt and Pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and oil it. Place squash cut side down, and cook for 30-35 minutes, until squash feels tender when a knife is inserted. Let cool.
For serving, scrape squash into pan set on medium heat. Mash with a potato masher as it heats, then add butter and let it melt, then stir to combine. Thin puree out with your choice of liquids, I used 3/4 c. whole milk, 1/2 c. chicken broth, 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar. Stir and if necessary mash until desired consistency. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, tasting to adjust seasoning if more is needed. Keep warm until you assemble the dish.
For the kale:
4 cups kale, steams removed and torn into pieces
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Toss kale with oil, salt and pepper. Divide kale among 2 sheet pans to avoid steaming and to get crisp. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp.
To assemble: combine butternut squash, gnocchi then kale onto a plate or plater. Sprinkle 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles and 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts on top. Serve immediately.