Gnocchi and squash with walnut and sage sauce

Gnocchi and squash with walnut and sage sauce

By
From
The Sunday Night Book
Serves
1
Photographer
Patricia Niven

This is a fantastically autumnal dish; there is something super-comforting about the texture of gnocchi. Although I do on occasion make my own, usually with spinach or pumpkin, I am very happy with commercially made gnocchi. We are very fortunate to have such a wide range of squash and pumpkin to choose from now. Search out your favourite varieties: some can be quite dry and good for roasting, while others can be watery and are better for a soup, mash or purée. Either type work pretty well here, although I prefer a drier one to contrast with the giving texture of the gnocchi. Squash keeps well, so don’t worry that a larger squash will go to waste if you are cooking just for yourself – simply remove the seeds, but leave the skin on, and it should last in the fridge for several days.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
175g squash, such as Crown Prince or Cream of the Crop
100g gnocchi
30g walnuts
1 large garlic clove, crushed
4 sage leaves, shredded
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
4 tablespoons light olive oil
15g butter
sea salt
black pepper
10g freshly grated parmesan, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Peel and deseed the squash and cut it into gnocchi-sized pieces. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the squash until almost tender, then add the gnocchi and cook for the time instructed on the packet, usually 2–3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, lightly toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, watching them very carefully as a scorched walnut is bitter and not much fun to eat. When they are cool enough to handle, rub off their skins, then put into the goblet of a stick blender – this is probably the easiest way with such a small amount, but an upright blender or small food processor should work too. Add the garlic, sage and vinegar and blend to a rough paste, then slowly pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil and keep blending until you have an emulsified sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. When the gnocchi and squash are cooked, drain them well. Heat the butter and a splash of olive oil in a frying pan, then add the gnocchi and squash and brown them for a minute or two. Add the walnut sauce and stir to amalgamate everything. Spoon into a warm bowl and serve with a scattering of parmesan, if you like.
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