I seem to have an insatiable fetish at the moment for roasted, sweet, bright and delicious butternut squash.
This was a whim of dish this evening, cooked up from nowhere just as an excuse to use the butternut squash that I found hiding in my mothers kitchen.
My apologies for the slightly gloomy photos tonight as the light in the temporary kitchen is a little dull and will be until the building work down the road is complete - and not to mention that my poor mother had to go to the garage in search of her potato ricer! But all good things come to those who wait, and I know I will be more than envious of the natural daylight-rich end results in her new kitchen.
Glens Gnocchi with Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple
This is really quite easy to make and this evening, in the cold North, made a quick and delicious starter - its flavours intensified somewhat by having to eat it in the dark - a game enjoyed by my children who found grannies in-case-of-emergency-torches under the stairs and thus plunged the eaters into darkness!
You will need as a starter portion for 4:
300g unpeeled floury potatoes, about 2 or 3 depending on size
100g plain flour, plus more for dusting
2 pinches of fine table salt
1 small egg, lightly beaten
2 tblsps olive oil
1/2 a butternut squash, cubed
1/2 a red apple, core removed and finely sliced
1/2 yellow courgette
3 cloves garlic, whole
1 sprig sage
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
Firstly boil the potatoes (skin-on) in salted water until tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the vegetables.
Add the cubed squash and garlic to a shallow roasting tin and toss in the olive oil and sage leaves. These will require about 35 minutes cooking time.
15 minutes before the end of cooking add the apple slices and the courgette.
Meanwhile, when the potatoes are cooked, peel them and put them through a ricer to ensure that they are really finely mashed. Add the flour and the lightly beaten egg yolk and mix thoroughly with a fork until everything is combined. The dough will start to clump together but take care not to handle or work it too much. When it has come together, gently knead it with your hands against the side of the bowl for a minute or so. Break the dough evenly in two pieces.
Turn one piece out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a long sausage shape about 1-2 cm in width. Cut into small bite size morsels.
Place on a clean tea towel which has been lightly floured.
Repeat with the remaining dough and then cover with a very light cloth or muslin until you are ready to cook them, but do not have them sitting for longer than about 30 minutes.
When the roasted vegetables are almost cooked, bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
Drop in the gnocchi and boil for 2 minutes. They will float to the top but be sure to taste them to make sure that the floury taste has gone and they taste cooked.
Remove the pan of vegetables from the oven and add a knob of butter. This will melt and mingle with the sweet vegetables in the pan and provide a really good flavour-some coating for the gnocchi.
Remove the cooked gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the vegetables, stirring them in gently.
Spoon in to a serving dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve. Eat immediately.