This recipe is for a butternut squash gnudi (hence the title) with crispy pancetta and maple toasted squash seeds. I plated this dish with apple butter in the shape of a butternut squash. Then I spooned some brown butter within the apple butter outline, and placed a few of the gnudi in the brown butter. My favorite aspect of this dish is the savory/salty of the pancetta vs. the sweet of the squash, seeds and apple butter. I seasoned the squash well with clove, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and brown sugar. I was inspired to try making gnudi by write ups of the Spotted Pig in NYC and a trip to North Pond in Chicago. I played with the ingredient ratio, and realize that you can change up the "pasta" by increasing/decreasing the amounts of ricotta, squash (or other puree), parmesean cheese, and flour. The more squash and flour the more gnocchi-like, and the more ricotta the lighter. Also, I learned that I got better results by using cake flour. I make the gnudi and the squash seeds the night before, and the rest I do the following day. From what I have read, the semolina serves to create a very thin layer of pasta after being in the fridge overnight. Served this dish with a hard apple cider called Crispin. Yum! —foodfighter
- Serves 4 (Appetizers or First Course)
Ricotta Cheese (Drained if Wet)
Butternut Squash Puree (Roasted)
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese
Cake Flour (up to, may not use all)
Brown Sugar (to taste depending on sweetness of squash puree)
- Remaining Elements
Pancetta Chopped Coarse
Seeds from 1 Butternut Squash
- Season squash with spices to taste. I went heavier on nutmeg and cinnamon.
- Whisk together ricotta, parmesan, egg, and squash Puree until smooth. Remove any clumps of squash.
- Gently mix in 2 ounces of cake flour, until the mixture seems sticky but workable. If the dough seems too sticky add an additional ounce at a time. The less flour the lighter the end product.
- Prepare a cookie sheet with a bed of semolina flour. This will go into the fridge overnight (so ensure it will fit in advance).
- Get a large bowl of cool water to rinse hands. Using a spoon or melon baller place a small amount of the dough in your hand. Working quickly, smooth dough into a ball. Then place on the prepared sheet pan. Rinsing hands in bowl between each gnudi.
- Cover prepared gnudi with additional semolina, and put in the fridge overnight.
- While gnudi are in fridge, I will bake squash seeds with a bit of olive oil at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Until they color slightly. Then I drizzle the seeds with maple syrup and cook in a pan until candied/carmelized.
- The day you plan to serve the dish. Fry pancetta till crispy, and set aside.
- Mix apple butter with some heavy cream, until it can be effectively used in a squeeze bottle. Shaking the squeeze bottle will help to thicken mixture if to thin.
- Take Gnudi out of the fridge and remove from semolina. Based on what I have seen, you can reuse the semolina for a similar use shortly after (i.e. maybe pasta).
- Boil Water. Let gnudi warm, and using a spider gently place gnudi in the boiling water. Cook until they float or up to 1.5 minutes. Due to the heft of the squash, they may not fully float.
- Brown butter slightly in a pan.
- Plate as desired. As I mentioned I made a butternut squash outline of apple butter with brown butter inside. Placed the gnudi on top of the brown butter, and piled the pancetta and candied squash seeds to the side. Garnish with a leaf (forced to use bay leaf, as I used up sage in squash ravioli this past weekend).
- Enjoy! Probably wish that you served as a dinner portion rather than appetizer.