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Gnocchi often gets put up on a pedestal. It has a reputation for being finicky, precise, and time consuming. I’ve made traditional potato gnocchi before and it’s definitely a lot of work. Well, if something takes a lot of work, my sneaky little mind always goes to work thinking, “How can I still enjoy this food, but make it faster and taste better?”

Enter squash gnocchi.

It’s easier, faster, tastier, and more colorful than potato gnocchi and also allows for a much bigger margin of error. There is nothing worse than working on gnocchi for a couple of hours and then they fall apart once you cook them. It sucks (I know, I know, first world problem).

That’s why I love using squash to make gnocchi. And I had this idea to sweeten and spice it up by infusing it with a little taste of India. The curried fig butter is fantastic and really makes this dish unique. I’m so glad I made it!

This whole meal was so yummy we had it twice in the same week. That’s saying a lot in our house. We also have enough in the freezer for 5 more meals! This is a very large recipe, so expect to freeze several trays of gnocchi.

Kabocha Squash Gnocchi with Curried Fig Butter

  • 425g light 4% ricotta
  • 2 cups grated parmesan
  • 4 lbs butternut squash
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 4 to 6 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

This recipe is a lot less about measuring and a lot more about getting the flour to filling ratio right. So remember, add only enough flour to handle the dough.

I started off roasting the squash in a 400 degree oven. Bake until the squash is cooked through and the skin peels away from the flesh, about 40 minutes. Remove the seeds and allow to cool. Remove the skin and mash the squash with a fork to eliminate any lumps.  Add all the ingredients except the flour and mix well. Start by adding the flour a couple of cups at a time. Add more until a workable dough is achieved. Take a small portion of the dough and roll into thin strands on a well floured surface. This is the point were you’ll really know if there’s enough flour in the dough. Add a little more if you’re having problems handling it and if it’s sticking to your hands. Well floured hands will help.

On a well floured surface, take a small portion of the dough and roll it out into a long “snake.”  Cut into segments.

half inch snake

cut into 3/4 inch pieces

Once you’ve cut them into pieces, you can make the tops pretty with a fork or press in the center with a baby finger to make a small pocket. The shape is entirely up to you.

Place the gnocchi on a cookie sheet in a single layer and freeze them for about an hour and then toss them into baggies to freeze for an easy meal later. Freezing them is not necessary if you’re going to eat them right away.

To cook, put on a large pot of water to boil. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water, no more than a couple dozen at a time, making sure they don’t stick together. If using frozen gnocchi, do not thaw first. Simmer the gnocchi until it floats to the top.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi and place in a bowl with your sauce of choice, butter or olive oil to prevent them from sticking. To serve them with Curried Fig Butter, either toss the pasta into the fig butter (use enough to coat, the amount will depend on the amount of gnocchi you’re cooking), or you can also heat up a frying pan with the fig butter on medium low heat and pan fry them until they are a little crispy on the outside. Serve immediately.

Curried Fig Butter

  • 10 dried figs (soaked in hot water for ten minutes)
    1/2 cup butter
    1/2 – 1 tsp of curry powder (I used Garam Masala)
    2 Tbsp lemon zest or finely chopped preserved lemon peel

If using unsalted butter, you may want to add a 1/2 tsp of salt to the butter.
Soak the dried figs in hot water until they soften. Drain off the water and remove the stem. Add all the remaining ingredients to a food processor or blender and puree until well combined. Season with salt. Add extra curry and lemon according to taste.

I’m sharing this with Real Food 101This Week’s Cravings, My Meatless Mondays, Mangia Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday Parade of Food, A Little Birdie Told Me, Fat Tuesdays, Traditional Tuesdays, The Local Cook and Monday Mania.

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