Butternut Squash Gnocchi, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apples, and Celery Root with Sage Brown Butter
Source: Larry Finn, Merchants Exchange Productions
This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on November 11, 2017.
Makes about 4-6 portions
1 small (1-2 pound) butternut squash
1 medium (2-3 pound) Rugosa butternut squash
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon honey, optional (if needed for sweetness)
2-3 cups 000 flour, sifted
2’x2’ piece of cheesecloth (big enough to hang the roasted squash)
Roasted celery root, apples and Brussels sprouts
1 pint Brussels sprouts, cut in half through stem
1 medium celery root (¾ -1 pound), peeled and diced into ½” pieces
2 Granny Smith apples (or other firm, tart apples), peeled and diced into ½” pieces
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Sage brown butter sauce
¼ pound sage
½ pound unsalted butter
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup squash juice (from squash roasted for gnocchi; see preparation instructions)
Salt to taste
Sugar, if needed (up to 1 tablespoon)
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
¼ pound shaved parmesan cheese
Arils (seeds) from 1 pomegranate
¼ cup baby kale leaves
To prepare the gnocchi: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Split the squash in half and remove the seeds.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut-side-up on a parchment-lined
half sheet pan. Roast until tender (timing will vary depending on the size of the squash, but it will take at least 30 minutes). Remove the squash from the oven and let cool until you can touch it without burning your fingers.
Scoop the squash flesh from the skin and place in the cheesecloth, tie with string, and hang, or place in a colander and press. Either way, place a bowl underneath to catch the juice, so it can be used for the sauce. Drain the squash overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, remove the squash from the cheesecloth. The squash should be dry and dense. Place it in a food processor and purée until smooth. Place the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl and mix together with the salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Add the squash purée and incorporate. Taste for sweetness, adding the honey if needed.
Meanwhile, place a small pot of generously salted water on the stove to boil. Begin to fold the flour into the squash mixture, adding just enough to form a dough that holds together. Test by taking a piece of dough and rolling it into a ½-inch-thick log. If it holds its shape, you have added enough flour. Cut a few gnocchi into bite size (½”-¾”) pieces and place them in the boiling water to see if they stay together and float to the top. Place the cooked gnocchi test pieces into ice water to cool, then taste for seasoning. If they hold their shape, taste delicious, and have a pillow-like consistency, continue rolling out and cutting the gnocchi. After they are cut, place them on a floured sheet tray and freeze. Keep them in the freezer until ready to cook.
To prepare the roasted celery root, apples, and Brussels sprouts: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the Brussels sprouts in a bowl with salt and pepper and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Toss to coat evenly and spread out on a half sheet tray. Roast until tender and golden, about 15-20 minutes. Repeat the same process for the celery root and apples, cooking each one separately.
To prepare the sage brown butter sauce: Pick the sage leaves from stems, reserving leaves and stems separately. In a stainless steel saucepan, brown the butter over medium-high heat. Cook until almost black. Add the sage leaves and fry until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, place on a paper towel, and reserve. Add the sage stems, cooking for approximately 1 minute, then remove the stems and discard. Deglaze the pan by adding the cider vinegar and butternut squash juice. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Use a hand blender to emulsify the sauce. The sauce should be tangy from the vinegar (so it tickles the back of your throat), as well as being balanced from the sweetness of the squash juice. If it is too sour, add some sugar to balance it, and maybe some whole butter.
To finish: Cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water until they rise to the surface of the water. Reserve some of the pasta water for the sauce. Shock the blanched gnocchi in ice water and transfer to a sheet pan.
Cook the blanched gnocchi in a non-stick pan with a little grapeseed oil over medium-high heat until they are golden brown on both sides. Add the roasted celery root, apple and Brussels sprouts to the pan to warm them. Add a few splashes of pasta water and a dot of butter to glaze the vegetables and gnocchi.
To serve: Place the gnocchi and vegetables in a bowl and spoon the sage brown butter sauce over. Garnish with shaved parmesan, pomegranate arils, baby kale leaves, and crisp sage leaves.