Come this Thursday, i.e, Thanksgiving day, I'll be one of the few who will retire in a stupor that decidedly will NOT be induced by that 'Turkey-philic' amino-acid, Tryptophan. Mine will be a blissful state of lethargy brought about by sheer Carbo loading, despite my best efforts to acheive a balanced feast.. All it takes is the dessert pies to upset that apple cart!.
I'm far from deciding what I'll actually make for our Thanksgiving family dinner except that I plan to definitely include the traditional ingredients as far as possible. Squash, sweet potato, corn & beans..and a cauliflower soup that I had made a month ago and still crave.
Its been a while since I tried my hand at making gnocchi and I had a little gnocchi shaping gadget that I was itching to try. There is absolutely no potato involved in this pasta, but the results were better than I expected. The sweetness of the roasted squash and Sweet potato is offset not by heat from chile pepper,but from the spiciness brought about by the addition of a tablespoon of fresh ginger extract.
Roasted Yam and butternut squash Gnocchi. (makes 4 servings of about 12 pieces each)
1 medium sized Yam (the golden sweet potato)
1/2 a butternut squash cut up lengthwise
1/2 cup each of all purpose flour and cornstarch, sifted together
Salt to taste (about 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger extract ( Grate a chunk of fresh ginger and squeeze out the extract)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 L water for boiling the gnocchi
For the Sauce
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon cornstarch and AP Flour mix (from the gnocchi ingredients above)
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorn
10 - 12 sage leaves
3-4 pieces of sundried tomatoes, chopped fine
1 cup whole or 2 % milk
Grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 F. Scrub and pat dry the sweet potato.
Brush the cut surface of the butternut squash with olive oil. Place the sweet potato & squash onto a baking sheet with the and bake for about 25 minutes till the tuber is done.
Remove the sweet potato and bake the butternut squash for about 20 more minutes until the surface appears blistered and a knife completely slips through the flesh.
Allow to cool completely before scraping the flesh of the squash and peeling the sweet potato.
Add the roasted vegetables into a food processor along with the Ginger extract, salt and nutmeg.
Keeping the appliance running at a low speed, add the cornstarch and AP flour mixture (you will need only about 3/4th of a cup, too much flour and the pasta will turn chewy & tough) until the mixture just begins to come together into a ball of dough.
Drop the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Divide into quarters. Leaving one piece on the floured surface, wrap the other three pieces in a Saran wrap until ready to use.
Roll the piece of dough gently into a long rope of about 12 inches long.
Using a dough scraper, cut the rope into 1 inch pillows.
You may either leave the pasta as is or using the back of a folk, gently slide along the tines to create the grooves. I used a gnocchi press that tended to elongate the pillows. The final pasta resembled baby carrots! Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the pasta on a floured plate and allow to dry for about 1/2 hr while you bring a large pot of water to boil, and prepare the sauce.
Heat one tablespoon of butter in a non sick skillet. Gently fry the Sage leaves on low heat, until they turn crisp. remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add about a tablespoon of the flour mixture to the butter and toast the flour until it turns a golden brown.
Stir the seasonings into the 'roue' and whisk in the milk. Whisk well to avoid any lumps and allow the sauce to thicken. Transfer to a container, covering the surface with Saran wrap to prevent a skin from forming. rinse and dry the skillet. Place back on the stove and add the remaining butter.
Lower the heat to bring the water down to a simmer and add the gnocchi (about 12 at a time) when the pasta begins to bob up after initially sinking to the bottom of the pan, allow to cook for about 1/2 a minute.
Remove the pasta with a spider skimmer gently agitate to shake of any excess water and add the gnocchi to the sizzling butter in the non stick skillet.
Shake the pan to coat the gnocchi with the butter and gently toss till the pasta just begins to develop brown spots.
Here's wishing all of you a very happy Thanksgiving.