Gourds go great with hearty, warming, cold-weather dishes. Chef Jeremy Personius, of Spina Restaurant (175 Avenue B, 212-253-2250) has taken an Italian staple and adapted it to the chilliest season of the year — with an eye to cucurbits.
He has shared his recipe for gnocchi with Fork in the Road. He preps it with butternut squash or other winter varieties: “I like to use butternut squash for this dish because there are less seeds in that particular squash, making it the best one to use. I also prefer the vibrant color the squash lends to the gnocchi. You can use pumpkin or acorn squash if you’d like. They have similar flavors although acorn will give more of a yellowish color to the gnocchi.”
Winter Squash Gnocchi
by chef Jeremy Personius, of Spina Restaurant
Serves: 2 as main course, 4 as appetizer
1 large butternut squash — washed, halved, and seeded
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt to taste
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 egg yolks
3 cups flour
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp sage chiffonade (fold sage over itself lengthwise and cut across into thin ribbons)
½ cup dry white wine
12 cherry tomatoes halved
¼ cup tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese (optional)
For the gnocchi:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat the inside of the squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and place the squash on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Roast the squash for 30-45 minutes or until soft.
Let the squash cool, then remove the flesh from the squash’s skin with a spoon. In a large mixing bowl, combine the squash, ricotta cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, egg yolks, and pinch of salt. Slowly incorporate the flour into the squash mixture, making sure not to overwork the dough, which should be light and fluffy.
Roll the dough into long cylinders about half an inch thick. Cut into 1-inch pieces of gnocchi. Boil the gnocchi in salted water at a rolling boil until they float to the top, about 5 minutes. Remove and instantly put into pan with the prepared sauce as noted below.
For the sauce:
In a 10-12-inch pan over high heat, add the butter and sauté tomatoes 1-2 minutes. Add white wine and cook for 1 minute, and then add tomato sauce and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the freshly boiled gnocchi into the saucepan. Toss for 1-2 minutes. Plate and serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan to taste.