I studied abroad in Rome during the summer of 2006, and while I was there, I had a very…European class schedule. I took Italian from 9-12 and history from 4-6, leaving me a very nice chunk in the middle of the day for wandering, eating and siesta-ing. True story – it took me the rest of the summer to break my afternoon nap habit. Those Europeans, they have the right idea.
Lunch was sometimes pizza from a local pizzeria with my classmates, but on days where I just needed to get in the kitchen, one of my staple dishes was gnocchi in a white wine sauce. Super simple – just sauteed onion and and garlic and white wine with a little butter, gnocchi and a bit of cheese, but filling and refreshing. And fast enough that I had plenty of time for a nap.
I make the gnocchi year round, but during the two weeks of squashness early in our marriage I found a way to add some fall to this summer meal. I kept the same recipe for the gnocchi, but placed the finished dish inside the hollow of a cooked acorn squash. It gets in a vegetable serving, creates a great presentation and is just a fun way to eat the dish.
- 1 lb of gnocchi, any variety
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 head garlic, minced (Yes, I use a whole head. No, you don’t have to.)
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 T dried basil or 20 leave fresh, chopped basil
- 1 T butter
- 1 acorn squash, split and cleaned
- 3 T extra virgin olive oil
- ½ t nutmeg
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 T brown sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place your acorn squash on a baking sheet – drizzle with 1 T of oil and sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Bake at 450 degree for 30-45 minutes, until the squash is fork tender.
- When the squash is about 10 minutes from being done, put the water on for the gnocchi.
- While the water is coming up to a boil, heat a skillet over medium high heat and add remaining oil. Saute onion 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and saute 1 – 2 minutes more, until softened. Add wine, scraping up bits on the bottom of the pan. Let reduce by half. Add basil and salt/pepper to taste.
- Once it boils, add gnocchi. At this point, the gnocchi will only need about 3 minutes to cook – once one floats to the top of the water, they’re done. Scoop them out and add to the sauce.
- Cook gnocchi in sauce for another minutes or so, then add butter and allow to melt into sauce.
- Scoop gnocchi into cooked squash, top with your favorite cheese (we love this with fresh parmesan, goat cheese and blue cheese) and enjoy!