Skinny Dip Squash (Butternut Gnudi)

October 26, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4 (Appetizers or First Course)
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • Gnudi
  • 8 ounces Ricotta Cheese (Drained if Wet)
  • 8 ounces Butternut Squash Puree (Roasted)
  • 3 ounces Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese
  • 4 ounces Cake Flour (up to, may not use all)
  • 1 Egg (Large)
  • Brown Sugar (to taste depending on sweetness of squash puree)
  • grated nutmeg
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground clove
  • ground allspice
  • 4 cups Semolina Flour
  • Remaining Elements
  • Apple Butter
  • Heavy Cream
  • 2 ounces Pancetta Chopped Coarse
  • Seeds from 1 Butternut Squash
  • 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • Maple Syrup
  1. Season squash with spices to taste. I went heavier on nutmeg and cinnamon.
  2. Whisk together ricotta, parmesan, egg, and squash Puree until smooth. Remove any clumps of squash.
  3. 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.
  4. Prepare a cookie sheet with a bed of semolina flour. This will go into the fridge overnight (so ensure it will fit in advance).
  5. 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.
  6. Cover prepared gnudi with additional semolina, and put in the fridge overnight.
  7. 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.
  8. The day you plan to serve the dish. Fry pancetta till crispy, and set aside.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. 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.
  12. Brown butter slightly in a pan.
  13. 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).
  14. Enjoy! Probably wish that you served as a dinner portion rather than appetizer.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lizthechef
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • AntoniaJames
  • TiggyBee
  • Table9

12 Reviews

Lizthechef March 17, 2011
I had missed this last time - great recipe!
foodfighter March 18, 2011
Thanks, I guess the recipe aged well. Enjoy!
beltmann29 October 31, 2010
This recipe is delightful! I love that you paired the gnudi with toasted squash seeds. Thank you for sharing.
peanutbutteryum October 29, 2010
I just tried these, and they were great. Definitely get the squash flavor, but a very soft cheesy interior. Very artistic presentation!
taste-bud October 28, 2010
Exquisite. I can just imagine the texture and flavors but imagining is NOT enough I will have to try it. Thanks for the insight and hints regarding playing with the ingredients.
TheWimpyVegetarian October 27, 2010
Oh my gosh, this is wonderful! I can't wait to make this one. I love everything about it including your very creative, delicious plating of it!
foodfighter October 27, 2010
Enjoy, let me know how it goes!
AntoniaJames October 26, 2010
Wow! This is amazing. So creative, and so well conceived. Hope you'll post a photo. ;o)
foodfighter October 26, 2010
Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to post a picture tonight. Also, I'm thinking a better camera is in my future.
TiggyBee October 26, 2010
I love everything about this recipe!! Delish!
foodfighter October 26, 2010
Thanks! Sometimes the filling is the best part of filled pasta. Plus, I am an absolute sucker for anything gnocchi like.
Table9 October 26, 2010
This sounds wonderful! Cannot wait to try it.