Updated: Gnocchi with Creamy Butternut Sauce, Browned Butter and Prosciutto Crumbs

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As I stated in my November post – I think this dish is perfect for this time of year. Obviously the pumpkin fits well as it’s in season, but the creamy sauce and fluffy gnocchi is also like a big autumnal hug in a bowl, that one most definitely need right now.

The original recipe is great for weeknight comfort, but cooking for my boyfriend on a Friday night I felt it could do with some jazzing up. So this is the elevated Friday night (or  dinner party) version for when you want to impress but still keep it fairly simple.

If you can’t be bothered with my whole ensemble of extras, and only want to jazz it up in a simple way then just add the prosciutto crumbs, because they have the biggest impact! And the thyme for some freshness!

And the sage is slightly redundant in itself, but it gives a subtle flavour to that glorious browned butter; you don’t need to put the sage on the plate.

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Gnocchi with creamy butternut sauce, browned butter and prosciutto crumbs, serves 2

1/2 butternut squash

olive oil

salt & pepper

approx 300 g gnocchi, cooked according to the instructions on the packet 

50-100 ml single cream

grated nutmeg

a few thyme sprigs

finely grated parmesan

a few sprigs of thyme 

4-6 sage leaves

50 g salted butter 

2 slices prosciutto

Peel the squash and remove the strings and seeds. Cut into even-sized pieces and place in a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Stir to coat all the pieces with oil. Place in the oven and roast until the pumpkin is soft, approx 35 mins in 200C. 

Cook the gnocchi and keep it warm.  

Place the prosciutto slices on a parchment lined oven tray and bake until crispy for approx 5 mins in 200C. Let cool on kitchen towel. Chop coarsely and set aside. 

Purée the roasted squash with a stick blender. Add (cold) cream until you have a nice thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and grated parmesan. Heat up the sauce in a non-stick saucepan while stirring, if needed.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the sage leaves. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen towel. Keep the butter on the hob until it’s browned. Remove from the hob when it smells nutty and has a brown (but not very dark brown) colour. 

Mix the gnocchi into the sauce and divide into bowls. Add the sage leaves (if using), drizzle with browned butter and scatter with prosciutto crumbs and thyme leaves. Serve with grated parmesan.   

Za’atar roasted butternut squash, spiced yoghurt and chillies

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Recently I’ve been ordering Abel & Cole’s vegetable boxes on a regular basis, and although I love the fresh organic produce, sometimes I find myself wondering what to cook with certain vegetables.

Sure, I have a few butternut squash recipes up my sleeve, but sometimes you just want to try something new, without knowing what that something new would be… That’s when I’m grateful for my (rather large) cookbook collection. I love to grab a pile of cookbooks and search through them looking for that something I didn’t know I was looking for. This last time it was this wonderful recipe by Sabrina Ghayour from Persiana that caught my eye and I absolutely love it.

I had half of it for dinner the same night and the rest for lunch at work the day after (and received lots of envious looks from my colleagues), but it would work just as well as a starter or a side dish.

Za’atar roasted butternut squash, spiced yoghurt and chillies, serves 4 as a side dish

Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe in Persiana.

1 large butternut squash

3 tbsp za’atar

3 tbsp olive oil

sea salt

Yoghurt sauce:

200 g Greek yoghurt 

a bunch of mint, finely chopped (I didn’t have any mint at home and therefore omitted it)

2 tsp sumac

1 tbsp ground coriander

2 tbsp olive oil

zest and juice from 1 lemon

black pepper

To serve:

1 bunch parsley

Pickled red chillies (I couldn’t find any and so brought fresh one, sliced them and covered them in lime juice for approx 20 minutes, then chopped into smaller pieces) 

nigella seeds

Pre-heat the oven to 240C. Line a baking sheet with nonstick baking paper.

Cut the squash horizontally in half at the point of the bulge. Now halve each portion vertically. Scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon and discard, then halve each piece vertically again until you have 8 pieces. Peel the squash and cut the pieces into any shape you wish. 

Make a paste with the za’atar and olive oil in a small bowl and rub the squash pieces all over with paste until every piece is well coated. Place all the pieces on to the prepared baking sheet. Season with sea salt, then roast for about 40-45 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces of squash), or until the edges start to brown and almost char a little. 

Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix the yoghurt with the fresh mint, sumac, coriander, olive oil, lemon zest and juice and sea salt and black pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients together well, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  

Remove the squash pieces from the oven and place them on a serving platter. Liberally dollop or pour the yoghurt over the wedges, then sprinkle with the parsley. Follow this with a scant scattering of nigella seeds. Lastly scatter over the pickled chillies.  

Gnocchi with creamy butternut sauce

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I’m a very seasonal person. Despite the mainly chilly weather at the moment I can’t face putting tights or warm jackets on. Because it is summer. Instead I layer up on my upper body but keep my legs bare (if I’m wearing a skirt or dress for work). I’m used to this approach but people in the office think I’m a little strange. Fair enough, I think.

But when it comes to food it’s harder. Sure, I incorporate as much asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, tomatoes and new potatoes into my diet as I possibly can, but instead of craving salads I still want warm filling food. So while this autumnal recipe of gnocchi with a lovely creamy butternut squash sauce with both cream and parmesan may suit the post-bikini season better it’s what I fancy eating right now. Until summer arrives. Then bring on the salads!

Gnocchi with creamy butternut sauce, serves 2 

1/2 butternut squash

olive oil

salt & pepper

approx 300 g gnocchi, cooked according to the instructions on the packet 

50-100 ml single cream

finely grated parmesan

a few sprigs of thyme (sage works too!)

Peel the squash and remove the strings and seeds. Cut into even-sized pieces and place in a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Stir to coat all the pieces with oil. Place in the oven and roast until the pumpkin is soft, approx 35 mins in 200C. 

Cook the gnocchi and keep it warm.  

Purée the roasted squash with a stick blender. Add (cold) cream until you have a nice thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper and grated parmesan. Heat up the sauce in a non-stick saucepan while stirring, if needed. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi, top with more grated parmesan and some thyme leaves. 

Butternut squash with Persian pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds

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I found this gorgeous (and easy!) recipe on the BBC Food website and just instantly knew I had to make it. It’s courtesy of Sabrina Ghayour who’s lovely cookbook Persiana I absolutely adore. The Persian pesto with pistachios contains dill, a herb that’s very Scandinavian for me, and I like exploring new ways of using it.

I had this for supper one day, but it works just as well at a mezze table, as a starter or on a buffet.

Butternut squash with Persian pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds, serves 4

Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe

1 large butternut squash, quartered lengthways (skin-on), and seeds removed 

4 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

150 g feta

100 g pomegranate seeds

For the pesto:

100 g pistachios

70 g parmesan

100 ml olive oil

1 small bunch coriander

1 small bunch parsley

1 small bunch dill

1 red chilli

1 lemon, juice only

2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Rub each wedge of butternut squash with oil and season generously. Place on the lined baking tray. Roast the squash for about 45-50 minutes, just until the edges have begun to brown slightly. Check the squash is cooked by inserting a knife – if it slides in easily the squash is cooked.  

For the pesto, add the pistachios and cheese to a food processor. Pulse to break them into small pieces and add enough olive oil to slacken the mixture to your desired consistency (you may not need all the oil). Add all the herbs and a little more olive oil. Season generously with sea salt and give the mixture one last pulse. Taste the pesto, to make sure it has enough salt and acidity, and allow it to rest in the fridge until you need it. 

To serve, place the butternut squash on plates, drizzled generously with the pesto. Crumble your feta over the top and scatter some pomegranate seeds over to finish. 

Pumpkin muffins with white chocolate

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These pumpkin muffins with lemon and cinnamon and topped with white chocolate was a real hit in the office before Christmas. Such a lovely winter cake!

The recipe is courtesy of the Swedish blog Matrepubliken.

Pumpkin muffins with white chocolate, makes12 small muffins
Translated from Matrepubliken’s recipe.
125 ml light brown soft sugar
125 ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
150 ml grated pumpkin (I used butternut squash)
1 lemon, the zest
200 ml plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsk cinnamon
150 g white chocolate 
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Mix sugar, oil and eggs to a mixing bowl. Add the grated pumpkin and lemon zest. Incorporate well. Mix flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a separate bowl and add to the wet mixture. Fill the muffin cases halfway up. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry. Leave to cool. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and dip the muffins in it (or spoon the chocolate on top of the muffins if you’re cases are too tall to dip). Leave the chocolate to set. 

Baked butternut squash with chorizo and feta

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This simple yet very tasty dish was my supper on Sunday night. I kind of forgot about supper until it was half past eight and by then I couldn’t really be bothered to make anything time consuming as Homeland was about to start at nine. And luckily the oven pretty much cooks this for you. Just a little chopping required from the cook.

bnut3The combination of sweet, salty and spicy is always a winner but especially during the colder months as it really warms you up from within.

Baked butternut squash with chorizo and feta, serves 2

1 medium butternut squash, about 400-500 g

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

a pinch of salt

100g feta, crumbled

60-70 g chorizo, sliced/cubed

Wash the squash, cut in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Cut into large chunks, keeping the skin on. Drizzle with olive oil in an ovenproof dish and season with cumin, smoked paprika and a little salt. Roast in 200C for 20-30 minutes or until soft.

Add the chorizo and crumbled feta to the dish and put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Butternut squash and ricotta ravioli with lemon and nutmeg

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When I went to school back in Sweden I was a very fussy eater when it came to school dinners. The food was just so far away from the made from scratch kind of food my mother and grandmothers cooked.

I remember my mother being very concerned, and on a school visit she made sure she had lunch with me. I was so glad that it was ravioli that day – one of my least favourite dishes, so my mother could see why I was so fussy. And she too, struggled to eat it. And from then on she always made sure to send lots of buns, crisp breads and fruit with me to school, just in case I didn’t like the lunch.

Nowadays I don’t think I am considered a fussy eater, but I still don’t eat ‘bad’ food, like those school dinners. They put me off things like lasagne and ravioli for years.

This ravioli however, is as far away as possible from the school version. Instead it is light and fresh with the sweet butternut marrying the earthy nutmeg and sharp lemon. The ricotta I think, add balance to the flavours.

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Butternut squash and ricotta ravioli with lemon and nutmeg,  serves 4

Pasta dough:

200 g 00-flour

2 eggs

Filling:

1/2 butternut squash

plenty of freshly grated nutmeg

approx 125 g ricotta

ca 1 tsp lemon zest

salt, black pepper

Sage butter:

50 g salted butter

5 large sage leaves, more to decorate

Cut the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Place skinside down on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast until soft, about 40 mins, 180C. Scrape out the soft flesh and place it in a bowl. Mush it up with a spoon or a stick blender. Add nutmeg and seasoning. Leave to cool completely. 

Weigh up the flour in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs. Knead into a dough. If too dry, add a tsp of olive oil, if too sticky add more flour. Shape into a ball and cover with cling. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Mix the butternut squash mash with roughly the same amount of ricotta. Add the lemon zest, season to taste and if you like, add some more nutmeg.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll it out using a pasta machine. Let the dough go through the widest setting three times while folding in between, then once on each setting until as thin as you prefer. I stopped at setting 7. 

Place the thin pasta sheets on a floured surface.  Place a teaspoonful of the filling on one of the pasta sheets with the same space in between the dollops. Brush the pasta with water all around the fillings. Cover with another pasta sheet, non-floured side down. Start at one end and flatten the pasta sheet on top of the other using your hand to protect the filling and to avoid air bubbles. Either cut into ravioli with a knife or use a ravioli cutter. If any excess dough is left over just roll it out again. 

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add plenty of salt to it. Add the pasta pieces 8-1o at the time. Remove with a slotted spoon once the pasta pillows have surfaced. This takes about a minute. 

In the meantime melt the butter in a pan and add the sage leaves. 

To serve, place 6-8 ravioli on each plate. Drizzle with the sage butter, add a sage leaf as decoration and serve with plenty of grated parmesan.