Thursday, February 10, 2011
Lesson learned this evening: 14 oz. of squash is less than the weight of a typical butternut squash. Trying to make gnocchi with almost three times the squash than I meant to? Well, it makes things difficult. Next time instead of just reading the recipe, I'll try reading AND comprehending. 14 oz. does not equal one squash. Lesson learned. Moving on...
Despite overly wet dough and, well, we'll say "free form" gnocchi as a result, the finished product was actually quite delicious. It was based of of the Buttercup Squash recipe out of Barbara Kafka's Vegetable Love. The color of the gnocchi, a bright orange-yellow, was bright and beautiful. The sauce she recommends along with it, really just a combination of ricotta, parsley, and reserved cooking liquid from the pasta, balanced the color and flavor very nicely. The only change I would make to the sauce is the amount of parsley she recommends - she says half a bunch. Which, if her supermarket bunches are anything like mine, that's a heck of a lot of parsley. I went for something closer to a quarter cup and would do a little less (around 2 Tbsp.) next time.
This one is still an "in-the-works" recipe for me if for no other reason than I want to get the gnocchi looking a little nicer. For the next time around, I'm planning on adding a little bit of potato to the squash for two reasons: 1. I think it will tone down the squash flavor just a touch. 2. I think it'll be a slightly fluffier texture inside and make it a bit easier to work with. I hope it doesn't affect the color too much, as that is an impressive looking feature of the recipe. I'll probably do 3/4 squash and 1/4 potato. I also plan to make the dough drier and roll out the gnocchi into logs. This may require some guesswork with portions and may be aided by a brief refrigeration, but Mark Bittman has some lovely illustrations in How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian that show gnocchi-making.
A couple of things I messed up and wish to not repeat next time. First, squash is ridiculously hot when you take it out of the microwave. Don't touch it until it cools a little bit! I'm still working on really learning that one...next time around I'll probably cut the squash and potato down, boil it, let it cool, and then process it to start the dough.
Once those tweaks are in there, I think it'll be good to go. And in the meantime, my sister will get to enjoy the not-so-beautiful version when I cook up the leftover dough for her this weekend.