Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Acorn Squash Gnudi with Zesty Brown Butter Sage Sauce

If you haven't noticed, I've been cooking a lot with squash.  What can I say, it's fall.  Many of the events in the blogosphere this month are taking advantage of the shift in seasons to feature this rich, comforting vegetable. 

I'm trying my hand at the Royal Foodie Joust hosted by The Leftover Queen this month, whose theme ingredients were acorn squash, citrus and sage.  P had the idea of making squash gnudi, and the rest of the dish practically wrote itself.  Pastas that make use of pumpkin or butternut squash, like ravioli, gnocchi, or agnolotti, often make use of a brown butter and sage sauce.  We added some orange zest to that sauce, which added a nice fragrant note.

Gnudi is a dumpling-like pasta.  Gnocchi is a good reference point, but it is also nothing like gnocchi at all.  Gnudi has no potato, and includes ricotta cheese. Good gnudi, 
like good gnocchi, is light and airy but also toothsome and substantial.  Making dishes like gnocchi and gnudi takes practice to make them both tasty and attractive.  As you can see, this wasn't the most attractive dish, but it sure looked good to our tastebuds. 

Acorn Squash Gnudi with Zesty Brown Butter Sage Sauce
 adapted from Michael Symon

1 medium acorn squash
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup ricotta cheese, preferably fresh, drained for 30 minutes in a fine sieve
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
Semolina, for dusting
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage, plus about 8 leaves

Peel squash, remove innards and cut into inch cubes. Toss with a little oil and salt and roast in a 400 degree oven until tender.  To keep the recipe from being too moist, you may want to roast the squash till it really gets a bit caramelized.. Transfer to a food processor, and puree until smooth. Stir together squash puree, eggs, cheeses and nutmeg.

Mound 1-cup flour on a cutting board. Using floured hands, gently shape 1 tablespoon squash mixture into a small log. Drop it into the flour, and quickly roll to coat lightly. Transfer to a baking sheet that's lightly dusted with semolina.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add half the gnudi, and stir gently to prevent them from sticking together. Cook until gnudi rise and remain on the surface, about 5 minutes. Remove to a platter. Repeat with remaining gnudi. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in zest and chopped sage and the sage leaves. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons gnudi cooking water, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with the gnudi.


Mary Ann said...

This sounds and looks delicious. We had acorn squash for dinner last night and I was presently surprised at how much more I like it now than I did when I was a kid.

Carla said...

I learned something new today. I'll have to try gnudi when I'm home for Thanksgiving break.

Andrea said...

Wow! This looks and sounds so delicious! I've never heard of gnudi before but I bet I'd love them. Thanks for sharing, these are going on my 'must make' list :)