RECIPE: Acorn Squash Soup & Sauteed Gnocchi | THE NIBBLE Blog - Adventures In The World Of Fine Food RECIPE: Acorn Squash Soup & Sauteed Gnocchi – THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food
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RECIPE: Acorn Squash Soup & Sauteed Gnocchi

acorn-squash-soup-gnocchi-garnish-giovannirasta-230close
Acorn squash soup with gnocchi and a garnish of
dried cranberries, Brussels sprouts leaves and
crème fraîche. Photo courtesy Giovanni Rana.
  Italians are known for combining pasta and soup: minestrone, pasta e fagiole (pasta and bean soup) and pasta in brodo (chicken broth with pasta) are classics.

Here’s an even fancier creation from pasta maker Giovanni Rana: acorn squash soup with potato gnocchi. This hearty starter can also serve as a main course—an example of how you can build on a simple bowl of soup to create a meal.
RECIPE: ROASTED ACORN SQUASH SOUP
WITH SAUTÉED GNOCCHI

Ingredients

  • 1 package (17.6 ounces) potato gnocchi
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 large shallots (or 3 small), cut in 1/4″ dice
  • 2 bulbs fennel, core and stem removed, cut in 1/4″ dice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic or champagne vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Brussels sprouts, tough outer leaves removed
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Cut the squash halves into segments, following the natural seams. Toss segments with extra virgin olive oil and season with kosher salt. Lay squash in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast until tender; about 30-35 minutes. In the meantime…

    2. MELT butter with extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Sauté shallots and fennel until soft, about 8-10 minutes. While shallots and fennel are sautéing, peel leaves from Brussels sprouts. Toast in a dry nonstick pan over medium high heat until starting to char in spots. Remove and set aside.

    3. INCREASE heat to high and add half of the vegetable oil. When oil is shimmering, add half of the gnocchi directly from the bag. Sauté gnocchi, tossing often, until browned. Set aside and repeat.

    4. REMOVE acorn squash from oven when tender; allow to cool enough to handle. Peel skins off and discard. Working in batches, purée squash, sautéed shallots and fennel, vegetable broth, heavy cream and vinegar in a blender or food processor.

    5. RETURN soup to a pan and gently reheat. Adjust consistency with more vegetable broth if necessary and season with kosher salt. Add gnocchi and divide among bowls.

      1002200_gnocchi-NecoGarnicia-230
    Boiled potatoes are riced and rolled with flour into ropes of dough. Small pieces are cut off and handmade gnocchi are pressed between the thumb and the tines of a fork to make the characteristic indentations (no dents in factory-made gnocchi). Photo courtesy Neco Garnicia.
     

    6. GARNISH with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream, toasted Brussels sprouts leaves and dried cranberries.
     
    WHAT ARE GNOCCHI?

    Gnocchi (NYO-kee) are light and fluffy Italian dumplings. The most commonly known in the U.S. are made from potatoes and flour, although other styles are noted below.

    You can find butternut squash, spinach and sweet potato gnocchi on modern menus, and creative chefs can create a myriad of flavors. Some also substitute semolina for the potato flour—the original recipe (more about that in a minute). Shapes and ingredients vary by region.

    The word “gnocchi” means “dumplings” in Italian. There are two suggestions for the origin of the word:

  • Nocchio, “gnarl,” referring to a gnarl in wood
  • Nocca, “knuckle,” referring to the knob-like appearance
  •  
    They’re Not Italian!

    Gnocchi are of Middle Eastern origin; the originals were made with semolina dough. As the Roman Empire expanded, favorite recipes were brought home and adapted, based on local ingredients and preferences. Depending on where you are in Italy, you can find:

  • Gnocchi alla romana (Roman-style gnocchi), made with semolina flour and rolled out in a thick, flat dough. Circles are cut from the dough and then baked.
  • Gnocchi di ricotta (ricotta gnocchi), which uses ricotta instead of potatoes with the flour and egg mixture.
  • Gnocchi di patate (potato gnocchi), shown in the photos above; essentially mashed potatoes with egg and flour, cut into small pillows and boiled.
  • Gnocchi Parisienne (Parisian gnocchi), made with boiled pâte à choux (cream puff dough, which can be used in savory recipes). They are often pan-fried in butter and great tossed with fresh herbs.
  •  
    Whether covered in sauce, tossed in butter or pan-fried, gnocchi are crowd-pleasers.

      




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