GNOCC, GNOCC… WHO’S THERE??
Gnocchi (pronounced with a silent ‘g’, like gnome) is often thrown in the pasta category, but they are actually dumplings! These soft little pillows are an iconic part of Italian cuisine, but also widely enjoyed in Croatia, France, and South America. Gnocchi is typically the Thursday special in restaurants across Italy, though each region has their unique preparation. If you’re local to the Portland area, Hogan’s Goat Pizza in the Hollywood District observes this weekly tradition with their handmade gnocchi night Thursday!
To balance out our delicious starch, I’ve added butternut squash and kale for some striking color and nutritious balance. With a touch of sage and sprinkling of red pepper flakes, you’ve got a taste of Italy that’s a feast for the eyes and your taste buds.
If you have the chance to eat handmade gnocchi, please do yourself the favor! It is fluffy and light yet still manages to be quite filling. Since most of us don’t have the time and energy to roll out a few hundred gnocchi on a weeknight, I’m calling in dried gnocchi for our purposes. It is important to note, however, that not all dried gnocchi is created equally. One of my favorite brands is from Trader Joe’s dry section (surprise!) as they’re actually made with potato rather than just flour.
If you’re looking for an extra challenge and richer flavor, you can alternatively make a brown butter sage sauce to drizzle over the gnocchi. Simply melt the butter over medium heat, and add the sage leaves once completely melted. The butter will foam as the leaves crisp. Once the butter turns a light brown you can remove the pan from the heat (roughly 2-3 minutes). Timing is essential here as the butter can quickly turn from just right to burnt.
Gnocchi with Butternut & Sage
Yield 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup cubed butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 6-8 cups kale, chopped
- 1 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the sage, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until fragrant and soft, about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken broth to the skillet. When it starts to simmer, stir in the kale and cook until it wilts slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the gnocchi, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until the gnocchi are just tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in 1/4 cup parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan just before serving.