Butternut Gnocchi with Sage and Blue Cheese
Gnocchi in the middle of November is not at all strange for people in the Northern Hemisphere where winter has finally arrived, but we are supposed to be in the middle of summer and yet it is cold, rainy and not at all summer or salad weather.
We have had a few warm summery days, but overall the mornings and nights are still somewhat chilly. No wonder my foodie brain still has visions of warm, wintery, comforting dishes such as Chicken Breyani , Thai Green Chicken Curry and butternut………
Last week at the market I picked up some butternuts because I have been wanting to make Butternut Gnocchi for a while now. During our last visit to Plettenberg Bay, playground of my famous author pal, Cooksister, my son saw the Gnocchi Quarto Fromage on the menu in the well renowned Beacon Isle hotel and ordered it 4 times in the week we stayed there. I promised him that I will make him some Gnocchi on our return, but winter has come and almost gone and I still had to fulfill my promise. I looked at a few recipes, but none of them really excited me so I turned to Twitter for some expert advise(he-he)! Most people suggested that I just use a regular Potato Gnocchi recipe and replace the potato with butternut, but the idea that really intrigued me was the butternut and ricotta idea I got from Adrianne from Verlague Products. Sadly however, I did not have ricotta on hand and I also was on a mission so the lack of one main ingredient was not going to stop me. I reverted back to the original idea of just replacing potatoes with butternut.
Butternut Gnocchi with Blue Cheese and Sage
1 large butternut
3-4 cloves of garlic – unpeeled
a few sage leaves
1 cup flour – cake flour is fine
2 jumbo eggs, lightly beaten
100gr blue cheese
about 2-4 tbsp grated parmesan
freshly ground black pepper
First you have to roast the butternut. I like to slice the butternut in round discs, peel and place them on a baking sheet and add a few cloves of garlic, some sage or thyme and a sprinkling of sea salt. Bake in a moderate(180C) oven until fork tender. Allow to cool. When cool enough, place butternut in a processor and blitz until smooth and creamy, add egg mixture and squeeze out the garlic, which is now soft and add to the butternut puree. Add the semolina and very gently, with a feathery touch knead the dough.
The dough should be moist but not too sticky. It must have a pillowy feel to it. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes or so! Cut it into 8 pieces. Gently roll each piece of dough into a log, roughly the thickness of your thumb. Use a knife and cut pieces every 3/4-inch/2cm. Dust with flour.
If you have a gnocchi board use that to shape your gnocchi, otherwise make little dumplings and press up against a fork to make the indentations. Sprinkle with more flour.
Now get a big pot of water boiling, add about a tablespoon of salt and cook the gnocchi in batches by dropping them into the boiling water. You will know when they are cooked because they will pop back up to the top. Fish them out of the water with a slotted spoon ten seconds or so after they’ve surfaced.
While the gnocchi is cooking, get a small pot on the stove and pour the cream into the pot. add the cheeses and allow the cream to come to a slow bubble and the cheese to melt. Once you have fished out all the gnocchi, you can fry them in a little sage butter, but I think it is just a tad too rich, so I serve them on a plate with some of the Blue Cheese sauce over the top. Serve with a few grindings of black pepper and some fresh sage!
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