It’s August, yet I am yearning for the Autumn. Fall season is full of wonders to me: vibrant fireworks of foliage set against crisp, blue skies, big comfy sweaters, apple picking, the aroma of cider and pumpkin pie, apple crisp with melting ice cream and caramel sauce, costumes and candy on Halloween, family, friends and the feast of Thanksgiving, my birthday, and an abundance of squash.
Despite the warmth of this dog day of summer, I wanted to anticipate autumn, gastronomically speaking. I remember going out to eat with my roommate and her family in the North End during college; the patriarch of the family ordered fancy bottles of wine, and copious amounts of dishes for us to share, family-style. That night I had a dish I never had before: pumpkin ravioli in a brown butter sauce. It was unlike any other pasta I had ever eaten; sweet, nutty and unforgettable.
With this recipe, I try to recreate that dish in a fraction of the time (not ravioli stuffing here!). I added fried sage leaves because it is my favorite herb to pair with squash; I chose gnocchi over pasta because of how soft and tender and frankly irresistible those potato clouds are and I thought they would combine beautifully with the squash. I used butternut squash rather than pumpkin since cooking pumpkins are nowhere to be seen where I live in August, but butternut squash abounds.
I hope you enjoy it!
1 package (17.5 ounces) of gnocchi
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup sage, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons of butter
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the butternut squash with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of heavily salted water to the boil. Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions (or until the gnocchi float on the top of the water). Drain and set aside.
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sage leaves and cook until the sage leaves are fried, the garlic is golden and the butter begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the squash, gnocchi, nutmeg and brown sugar and toss well. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cook another 3 minutes. Spoon into a bowl or plate and devour.