Gnocchi are perfect comfort food and these acorn squash gnocchi are some of the best: deliciously savory, light, pillowy & flavorful. A great taste of fall.
I mentioned when I shared my acorn squash wild rice salad that I am a relatively new convert to the goodness of acorn squash. Having started cooking with it more and, weirdly, seeming to get it more in the vegetable delivery recently than I remember last year, I have been playing around with how to use it.
Our household is a big fan of gnocchi so it wasn’t much of a leap until I got to the idea of acorn squash gnocchi. Soft, pillowy, savory deliciousness, they were such a hit when we first made them. So much so, that I will now buy an acorn squash just to make them (and maybe also some acorn squash soup).
Why homemade gnocchi are best
I know for some people the thought of making gnocchi might seem a bit crazy, but for me I now can’t buy pre-made ones as they just don’t taste right to me anymore. Something else added to the ‘can’t buy it because I feel like I can make it better’ category.
And it honestly is true – fresh gnocchi have a lightness you just can’t get when they have been packaged up. I also suspect they add higher quantities of flour or other things to get them to hold together more firmly. While that’s great to be able to cook them, it does mean they are heavier/stodgier.
I also think it’s nice to be able to play around with the flavors. We really enjoy potato spinach gnocchi but these acorn squash version have a lovely almost nutty savory note which has made them a firm favorite too.
How they’re made
Gnocchi, and certainly these acorn squash gnocchi, really aren’t that hard to make. They’re also a great thing to get kids involved in making between mashing, mixing and rolling. You just need to allow a bit of time.
- Steam the squash then mash it.
- Once it has cooled, mix in the egg, flour and optional sage and goat’s cheese.
- Take spoonfuls of the dough at a time and roll into logs, cut off bite-sized pieces and roll into little balls.
My son loves rolling a bit of dough in his hands – true he has yet to be useful in this but I am sure it all helps him engage with the food.
Tips for making & freezing acorn squash gnocchi
Between steaming, mixing and rolling out, it can seem like there are a lot of steps here, but you can form them, put them on a plate and refrigerate a few hours if it suits your schedule better. If you chill them, just watch they may stick to the plate so you may need to ease them off.
The actual cooking is very quick, which is great for me when I have a constant ‘have some gnocchi’ chorus going on in the background. If you ever manage to have any leftover, you can cook and store them in sauce or pesto and they will re-heat fairly well in the microwave.
Alternatively, freeze uncooked gnocchi separated on a baking sheet then transfer to a freezer bag once frozen and cook from frozen when you need them.
These acorn squash gnocchi work well on their own as a main dish or side eg to lamb chops. To me, they are definitely worth the slight bit more time it takes to make them. Deliciously savory, comforting and a wonderful taste of fall, these acorn squash gnocchi are definitely worth trying.
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These acorn squash gnocchi make a deliciously comforting, savory-flavored meal.
- 11 oz acorn squash approx 315g - 1/2 a medium squash peeled and deseeded weight, 16oz/450g before peeling
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour 200g plain flour (or a little more as needed)
- 1/2 tsp sage (optional) 2 good size leaves, finely chopped
- 2 oz soft goats cheese 55g, 1/2 log, crumbled (optional)
Peel and deseed the squash, cut into chunks then steam the squash until tender to knifepoint, around 10mins or so.
Mash the squash, removing any tough bit of the skin you might have missed, and allow to cool.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined, mashing the cheese and squash as necessary so you don’t get lumps.
Lightly flour a work surface to roll out and rest gnocchi on until you are ready to cook.
With floured hands, roll out large spoonfuls of the dough into logs and cut off sections about 1/2-3/4in/2cm thick. Roll each chunk into a ball and place onto a floured surface or a plate if chilling to cook a bit later.
Bring a shallow, wide pan of water to the boil. Drop a few gnocchi into the boiling water at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan and keeping the water boiling.
Remove with a slotted spoon once the gnocchi rise to the top. If they don't rise after a couple minutes or some do but others don't, nudge them with a spoon as they may have stuck to the bottom.
Serve with browned butter, pesto or your choice of sauce and some parmesan on top.
Note - you can freeze uncooked gnocchi by laying out on a baking sheet, freezing then transferring to a freezer bag once frozen. Cook from frozen as you would normally, they'll just take an extra minute to float up.
I'd recommend cooking these in a wide, shallow pan such as Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute Pan or Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Round Braiser.
Try these other delicious gnocchi ideas:
Original photo from post before updating: