The Kitchen Prep: Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Bourbon Cream Sauce

Monday, October 1, 2012

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Bourbon Cream Sauce

When you've been in a relationship with the same person for a while, gift giving can get a little tricky. Mostly because you sort of run out of things that your significant other needs or wants {or, you know, you run out of space to put things!}, and also because if your finances are combined, you're basically buying them things with their own money.

After 8 years of being together, my husband and I have stopped giving "stuff" and tend to go for more "experiential" type gifts - a dinner somewhere we don't usually go, a trip to a place we've been wanting to check out, a date to a fun event, etc. Basically, something we can do and enjoy together, which is much more fun than "stuff" any day.

It just so happens that Steve and I have birthdays that are just days apart... and during the span of 8 days every September, we have a handful of other friends and family members who also celebrate their birthdays. It's a little crazy, to say the least, and my stomach hurts just thinking about all the birthday cake that is consumed during that period of time.

{Needless to say, I think we will be very aware of the month in which we attempt to start a family one day... no more September babies, please!}

When it comes to men, they say "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." And I can't say I've ever seen an example that disproved that theory.

So, when my hubby turned 30 a few days ago, instead of running out to buy him new sports gear, clothes, exercise related items, things that will end up in the closet or garage, etc... I decided to go the gastronomical route instead.

We had a lovely evening in {his birthday fell on a Tuesday}, watched his favorite movie {Gladiator}, and enjoyed a special dinner made just for him. Oh, and the "beer cake" didn't hurt, either.

If you've ever attempted to make your own gnocchi, you know it's a labor of love. And gluten free gnocchi, I've found, is even trickier because the dough doesn't have the binding benefit of wheat flour's gluten to help it stick to itself. In short, it's a royal pain.

But for my sweet hubby's birthday? I'd stand in the kitchen for hours, hand shaping stubborn little pieces of dough that don't want to hold their shape. If that's not love, I don't know what is. ;)

This Gluten Free version of Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Bourbon Cream sauce is adapted from a recipe I found over on Foodista. It's not terribly difficult, exactly, but it is time consuming, so I recommend trying it out on a day that you don't have too many plans {especially if it's your first gnocchi attempt}, and not doing what I did. {i.e. Make them on a busy day, resulting in you running around looking like an episode of Chopped.}

I found that the gluten free flour made them a little gummier than I'd have liked, but the husband ate them happily, so I got over it. :)

You can definitely make these with regular flour and you'll probably have a better result.

So, yes, my husband was thrilled with his birthday gift. But you know what? In the end, every birthday we get to celebrate together is a gift in itself.

{Gluten Free} Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Bourbon Cream Sauce
adapted from Foodista

1 small butternut squash, about 1 lb., {roasted, boiled, or microwaved until tender} scooped from flesh
½ cup Parmesan cheese
a pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 eggs
2 cups flour {plus extra for assembly} - I used rice flour to make it GF, but you can use all purpose
3 tablespoons. butter
2 tablespoons. flour - gluten free or all purpose
2 shallots, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 to 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Parsley for garnish, optional
Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Make Gnocchi:
Place cooked butternut squash pulp in a large food processor or blender. Process until mostly smooth. Add Parmesan, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and eggs and blend until fully combined and smooth.
Pour squash mixture into a large bowl and add the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until flour is incorporated and a wet dough forms. {If the dough is too soft to handle, add a little more flour, just be careful not to add too much or the gnocchi will not turn out light.}
Sprinkle a clean counter top or the surface of a large cutting board with flour. Scoop out about 1 cup of dough onto board. With floured hands, lightly roll the dough into a long rope shape. {This is the part where things can get messy if your dough is too wet, but have no fear, it will come together... just be gentle. If it doesn't, incorporate a little more flour a tablespoon at a time until it is able to be rolled.}
With your fingers or a knife cut about 1 inch segments from dough. Using the tines of a fork, roll each segment of dough to create the gnocchi's little ridges. Place each gnocchi on a sheet pan. Continue until desired amount of gnocchi is made.
For Sauce:
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, and saute until tender and fragrant. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over shallots and whisk until a paste forms. Slowly {and carefully... you may want to remove from flame just in case} whisk in bourbon. Add chicken stock, whisking constantly, making sure there are no lumps from the flour. Turn up the heat to medium-high and simmer until slightly thickened. {Like a thinned gravy. If it gets too thick, add a little more stock or water.} Turn heat down to medium-low and whisk in heavy cream. Simmer and keep warm.
Cooking Gnocchi:
Meanwhile, boil a large pot of salted water over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil, then decrease heat so water is not boiling so violently. Drop half of gnocchi into water carefully. Cook until they begin to float to the top, about 4-5 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place directly into pan with sauce, if desired, or plate them and spoon sauce on top. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.
Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
Serve hot.


chineka said...

I hope that your husband had a wonderful 30th birthday!!!! I love butternut squash and the sweet taste of it so thanks for giving me another way to make it 8-)

The Kitchen Prep said...

Thank you, Chineka! Butternut squash is one of our favorites, too, and I love it when I can incorporate it into any dish. I have to say, the butternut squash flavor isn't very strong in these gnocchi, but I'm wondering if maybe using regular flour instead of going the gluten free route would alter the taste. If you do try them out, let me know! :)

Anonymous said...

I made these tonight and brought them to a friend's house. Loved by all and I used gluten free all purpose flour by accident and they were little pillows of heaven.No leftovers.

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