This is a very simple autumn inspired dish. It will work with a wide variety of squash, and each one will give the dish a different flavour and character so there is tonnes of room for variation by following the simple formula of this recipe.
I love the combination of brown butter and sage, but the lemon is really what brings the whole dish together. Opt for fresh gnocchi instead of store bought, and you won’t be disappointed! You could even take it one step further than I did by making butternut squash gnocchi instead of regular potato.
2 cups fresh potato gnocchi (either store bought or fresh, recipe for this to follow)
1 small squash (about 500g), acorn, gem, or butternut squash work well
1 small bunch fresh sage
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp hard cheese such as grana padano, or parmesan
1. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds, season the inside with salt and pepper, and add a small glug of olive oil to each and roast for 30 min at 350 degrees F, or until done (timing based on gem squash).
2. Meanwhile, add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large saute pan and place on medium heat. Pick the sage leaves from the stem, and carefully arrange in the pan to avoid overlapping. Continue to saute until the sage leaves are crispy, but not burnt. Pick out individual leaves as they crisp up if the heat is uneven. Set aside crispy sage leaves for later and reserve the pan for the gnocchi (step 5).
3. Bring a pot of water to boil and salt as you would for pasta. Add the gnocchi and drain with a colander once the gnocchi has floated to the surface. Ensure you remove as much water as possible to avoid oil splatters in the next step.
4. While the gnocchi is cooking, turn a small saucepan to medium-high heat and add the butter. Cook until the color begins to turn golden brown and the aroma changes, then remove from heat. Ensure you do not remove from the heat too late, as the butter will continue to brown somewhat.
5. Heat the large saute pan to high heat, and add a glug of olive oil. Add the gnocchi to the pan to saute, ensuring they form a single layer. If the pan is too small for this, work in batches. Saute the gnocchi until they develop a nice golden brown exterior with a slight crust. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the squash, brown butter, and the juice from the 1 lemon. Toss the ingredients lightly and continue to saute for 1 minute. Add the crispy sage, reserving a few for garnish. Season generously with salt and pepper, and toss to incorporate all the ingredients.
6. Grate the cheese over the gnocchi, and garnish with the reserved crispy sage leaves.