Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Roasted Squash and Spinach Gnocchi

Autumn is my favorite season.  The leaves turn beautiful colors, the air is crisp and clear, my birthday...  And also because it is squash season.  I love the versatility of squash.  Spaghetti squash, true to it's name is a great low-carb alternative to pasta.  Acorn squash has a sweet nutty flavor and is the perfect shape to be little edible bowls.  Kabocha squash is so sweet, you can easily use it for a dessert recipe.  And of course, one of the most well-known, butternut squash has such a versatile flavor that it works in so many different recipes.  You can roast it with spicy cumin or sweet brown sugar.  Either way, you have a delicious dish on your hands. 

Last week, I was in the mood for real comfort food and opened my fridge and pantry to see what I could make.  I saw that I had gnocchi and butternut squash.  After just a little googling, I saw a Rachael Ray recipe that I had to try for a creamy spinach and squash gnocchi.  Perfect!  I have actually never cooked with real cream before.  Every time a recipe calls for it, I either omit it completely (to make the recipe kosher) or I use milk.  It always tastes fine, but it never really "wows" me.  This time, I decided to try real cream.  WOW.  There is a real difference in flavor and texture that comes with the cream that I had previously always underestimated.  Lesson learned. 

I made some changes to the recipe that I found online.  I added some more spinach and changed up some of the spices.   The result was delicious and warm and very comforting.  It was also a really easy recipe to throw together and would be great for company, served along side a large salad mixed with dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds to keep the autumn theme. 

Roasted Squash and Spinach Gnocchi
1 package of cubed squash (or about 1.5 - 2 lbs cut up squash)
2 boxes of chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 package of gnocchi
2 cups of cream
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary (could also use fresh, if on hand)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss squash with salt and pepper and some olive oil.  Spread out on baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, boil salted water for the gnocchi to cook.  Separately, in a large pan, saute the garlic in a little oil.  Add the cream.  Bring to a slight boil and reduce the heat to let the cream thicken, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the rosemary, then mix in the spinach.  When the squash and gnocchi have finished cooking, add them to the sauce and serve.  Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.