Undeterred, I decided I would try again on Thursday after a run to the grocery for more potatoes. I decided on Thursday because Tuesdays & Thursdays are the two days of the week that one of my two kiddos is in preschool, so I had half the distraction of other days. My mother brought me some potatoes Tuesday evening (after I told her about the mess in the morning) so I was all set. However, when sorting some things out in the pantry, I realized I had an extra butternut squash lying around. I decided to search my recipe database for ways to use it when I came across a recipe for Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Butter Sauce.
This recipe, from Lidia Bastianich's cookbook La Cucina Di Lidia: Recipes and Memories from Italy's Adriatic Coast, called for roasting the butternut squash they day before use and allowing them to drain in a colander over a bowl overnight in the refrigerator so that most of the liquid would be removed. The first problem I ran into was the length of time the recipe called for roasting the squash. My butternut squash took THREE TIMES as long to roast to "tender" as the recipe directed. Other than that small problem (which was easily overcome by continuing to cook it until done!), the recipe worked very well. Here is what the roasted squash looked like just before I put it in the refrigerator for the night.
Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage sauce
2 eggs -- beaten
3 1/4 teaspoons sea salt -- divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
10 sage leaves -- cut into strips
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350øF. At least 6 hours before making the gnocchi dough (up to 1 day in advance), halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Loosely wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 1.5 hours or until flesh is tender when pierced with a fork. Allow to cool until able to handle and then scoop the pulp from the skin into a colander set over over a bowl. Cover, set in the refrigerator and allow the squash to drain at least 5 hours and up to 24 hours.
After it has drained, puree the squash in a food processor. Add the eggs and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and pulse to combine. Pour into a large bowl and fold in the flour until well blended. The dough will be quite sticky and soft.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt to the boiling water. Using a teaspoon, scoop up some of the dough (about a walnut size piece) and slide it into the water with your finger. The gnocchi will drop to the bottom of the pot. Repeat until you have 10-15 gnocchi in the water (don't crowd). Poach them for 2 minutes after they rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Repeat until all the dough is used. At this point, you can store the gnocchi in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before continuing with the rest of the recipe.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet. Allow to just begin to brown before adding the gnocchi and sage. Stir gently until the sauce coats the gnocchi and it starts to lightly brown. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve hot.