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Butternut squash gnocchi

I am not an experienced gnocchi-maker at all, but I had this beautiful butternut squash from the CSA on my counter, and I happened across this recipe the same day: http://www.finecooking...

...soooo, I thought I'd give it a try. After testing a couple of gnocchi in a frying pan (I was late getting my water boiling), I wound up adding maybe 1/3 cup of flour to what the recipe called for to get the taste/texture to my liking. When I finally cooked them in boiling water, however, while the flavor was very good and the interior texture was, well, not perfect, but passable, they seemed kind of waterlogged and loosely held together on the surface -- like the outside was threatening to disintegrate (though they didn't quite). Any ideas on how I can fix this in the future? I loved the flavor and would like to nail this dish eventually. A couple of other notes, in case it helps to diagnose the problem: I didn't have a pastry bag, so I clipped the corner off of a gallon freezer bag. Also, their shape turned out a bit irregular (I imagine consistency comes with practice), but the size was in most cases about right. Thanks in advance.


Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

asked almost 2 years ago
15 answers 968 views
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Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added almost 2 years ago

Did you let the batter sit for 30 minutes, as the recipe instructs? That should improve the texture, if you didn't do it. I wouldn't pipe them. I would drop them with a spoon, or maybe, if the batter is substantial enough, give a try with the Spätzle maker.

You might compare the recipe to other gnocchi made with butternut squash or pumpkin to see how the amounts of flour to squash and other liquid ingredients compare.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

Yes, I did refrigerate them for 30 minutes. The kitchen was pretty hot, though (I'm in SoCal), and the batter may have warmed up quickly from the combo of that plus my hand squeezing the bag -- I had to do it in several batches, so I put the bag back in the fridge while scooping the previous batches out of the water b/c I was worried about it getting too warm. Dunno -- I kept it as cold as I could at that point but maybe I should have refrigerated it longer in light of the warm kitchen temp?

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Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added almost 2 years ago

I think the gnocchi is refrigerated to give the flour time to absorb liquid; chilling the dough is probably a secondary reason. Perhaps you could drain the squash after it is mashed. I would put it in a colander and let it sit for a while. I am sure some of the juice will drain out. (I'd save the juice and throw it in broth or perhaps in a sauce of some sort.)

As for piping, that seems rather fussy and messy for gnocchi. I think the spoon would be faster for me. Usually gnocchi are formed and set on a board until all are finished and ready to cook. I'd be tempted to make them like Spätzle are made traditionally--by placing the dough on a small, thin board and "cuttting" them with a knife directly into the boiling water.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

Oh, and why would you drop them instead of piping them? It seems like that would take longer in between individual gnocchi and therefore create the potential for uneven cooking.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

And why drop them instead of piping them? My thought would be that it takes longer to drop them, which might lead to uneven cooking.

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Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

See lidis bastianich recipe for gnocchi (regular not pumpkin) for good clever and eventually fast ways of shaping them by hand. With thumb and fork, sort of like orecchiette. Also, some good info about shaping, boiling and not adding much extra flour.

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Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

P.S. that's Lidia. And she also has a recipe for butternut squash gnocchi (at various websites). I find her directions reliable.

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Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added almost 2 years ago

Gnocchi with butternut squash added have a very different texture from traditional gnocchi and I suspect trying to form them by hand would result in a huge mess.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

Oops, thought it didn't post the first time...:/

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

Maedl, the recipe I used said that keeping the squash moist was the key to tender gnocchi, so I never would have thought to drain it to get some of the moisture out! It's hard to judge proper texture of the raw batter when making it for the first time -- this is where having a nonna standing over my shoulder would've helped! Anyhow, I suppose I'll just have to, as you suggested, take a look at more recipes (including Lidia's) and experiment a little with a way of forming them that works best for me. Thanks. And Nancy, yes, I've seen that method for potato gnocchi but I agree with Maedl that butternut quash batter is too sticky for that. I will, however, see if I can find her recipe for butternut squash gnocchi. Thanks so much!

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Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added almost 2 years ago

Spinach or squash gnocchi can be frustrating to make. I have have spinach gnocchi turn to mush more than once.

I would think that the amount of flour would affect tenderness more than the moisture in the squash. Generally, in making pasta and noodles, you need to get just enough flour to be able to roll or shape, but too much flour will result in toughness.

I looked at the recipe again, and think that if I try it, I will use my Spätzle maker to form them. You place the maker over the boiling water and push the dough basket back and forth so the pieces fall directly into the water. It goes quickly and easily.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

Actually yes, a spatzle maker sounds perfect (of course I don't have one but that could be rectified). Hmm, I hear what you're saying about the flour/moisture issue. Next time I will also try to get my water boiling sooner so I can actually test them in the water. Wondering though, if I do test them and then add a bit more flour, do I need to let the batter sit again before cooking or is a small amount of flour negligible enough to just mix it in and cook it in the water right away?

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Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added almost 2 years ago

Both Amazon and Bed, Bath and Beyond have a Spätzle maker for about $7. I don't know how sturdy it is, but until you get heavily into Spätzle making, it might suffice!

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Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added almost 2 years ago

Another thought: when I make Spätzle, I use about a tablespoon of semolina added to flour to make one cup total. The semolina improves the texture--you might want to give that a try in the gnocchi.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

Huh, thanks -- will try that.