I wasn't going to post this because the perception is that gnocchi are hard to make, but when I thought about it, I knew I couldn't let that perception stand, because it's not true. Furthermore, I didn't want you to miss out on the crazy goodness of this dish!
The gnocchi are light, so tasty and totally nutritious. They can be made ahead of time and frozen by putting them on a tray, freezing them until firm and then slipping them into a zip lock bag.
I roasted the squash in slices ahead of time, mashed about two cups and stored the rest for use on pizza, quesadilla's and salads. So one large 3-4 lb squash is good for 3-4 meals. This is a wonderful dish to make for the upcoming holidays, especially for a vegan Thanksgiving.
I hope this dish inspires you to make a wonderful meal for family and friends one that makes you linger at the table and give thanks for being together.
For the gnocchi (serves 4):
- 2 cups butternut squash (roasted and mashed)
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 cup organic white flour
- Seasoned with salt, grated nutmeg
For the sauce:
- 1 cup cashew cream (see below)
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 3 or 4 fresh sage leaves, slivered
- Seasoned with salt, grated nutmeg and nutritional yeast
- Garnished with freshly grated parmesan (optional)
For the cashew cream:
- 1 cup of whole cashews, soaked in 1 cup cold water
- Pureed in a food processor
Add all the ingredients for the gnocchi into a large mixing bowl and mix with your hands until they form a dough ball. Place on a floured board and knead (pulling the dough away from you with the palms of your hands and then folding it over and repeat).
Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a rod, approximately 1 inch in diameter. Cut the rod into inch pieces and roll each piece with your thumb to form an indent (or you can roll each piece with a fork to form ridges). These are great to capture the sauce and give the gnocchi texture.
Once all the dough is rolled, cut and indented you can place them on a baking sheet and freeze them until firm and then store them in a ziplock bag for later use. If you're planning on eating immediately, place a pot with two quarts of water and a few pinches of salt over high heat and bring to a boil.
In the meantime, set a medium sauté pan over med/low heat. Add oil and heat for a few moments and add the garlic. Let the garlic turn golden and then stir. Add the cashew sauce, the nutmeg and the yeast. Stir and simmer on very low heat, adding a few drop of the pasta water If the sauce is too thick, until you reach the desired consistency Remove or keep on very low heat to stay warm while you cook the gnocchi.
When the water is at a rolling boil, add the gnocchi and cook until the pasta floats to the top. This will take only a couple of minutes. Let it cook for a minute longer once it's floating. Drain and add the gnocchi to the sauce in the pan or place the gnocchi in a warm bowl and toss with the sauce. Divide onto individual plates, garnish with a bit more slivered sage and freshly grated parmesan if you like.
Note: If cooking the gnocchi from a frozen state, do not add the gnocchi all at once. This will lower the temperate of the water too much and the gnocchi will get water logged. Instead, cook them in small batches, maybe a cup at a time. When they're cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and add the next batch, and so on.