Squash Gnocchi with Basil Oil

December 3, 2013

Okay, this is a bit of work. I will admit that. But these are so sensual, so delicious, so worth the work, you’ll find yourself making them more than you ever thought.

Makes 8-10 Servings

Ingredient List:

Pasta Dough

  • 1 to 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 cup cooked white rice, pureed until smooth
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pureed cooked butternut squash or canned pumpkin
  • Spring or filtered water

Basil Oil

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 6 to 8 leaves fresh basil, left whole
  • Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish

Step By Step Instructions:

Make the pasta: Sift flour onto a dry work surface. Make a well in the center of flour and add rice, salt, oil and squash. Mix gradually, kneading into a smooth, soft dough by drawing small amount of flour in from the edges as you knead. Add more flour if the dough seems too sticky or more water if it feels too dry. In both cases, add small amounts very slowly so as not to jeopardize the quality of the dough. Continue kneading until dough is a soft, workable ball, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

To make the gnocchi, flour a fork. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of dough and roll into balls between your fingers. Run the pasta ball on the fork to create ridges. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet that has been sprinkled with semolina. Repeat until you have made the desired amount of gnocchi. (The balance of the dough can be frozen.)

Bring a pot of water to the boil, with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Cook the gnocchi until just tender, about 2 minutes. The gnocchi will sink to the bottom of the pot. When it rises, it is done. Drain, but do not rinse.

While the pasta cooks, make the oil: Place all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and cook 3 to 4 minutes to develop the flavors. Strain the oil and toss with cooked gnocchi. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs and serve immediately.