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Winter Squash Gnocchi with Meat Sauce Recipe

Winter Squash Gnocchi with Meat Sauce

Pumpkin or other winter squash is used as a filling for ravioli and other stuffed pastas all over Italy. In the frasche, or informal farmhouse restaurants, of Friuli, it is sometimes made into hearty gnocchi.

Adapted from "The Country Cooking of Italy" by Colman Andrews (Fall 2011).

Ingredients

  • 1 small acorn or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and quartered
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt
  • 1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • ½ pound/250 grams ground pork
  • ½ pound/250 grams ground veal
  • 2–3 chicken livers, minced Pepper
  • 3 cups basic tomato sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the squash, cut side up, into a baking pan and cover the pan with foil. Bake for 1 hour or until soft.

Remove the squash from the oven and let it cool. When it's cool enough to handle, scrape out the flesh into a strainer and, with the back of a wooden spoon, press out as much liquid as possible. Put the squash in large bowl and add the eggs and plenty of salt and mash with a fork or a potato masher. Work the flour into the mixture to form a thick, soft dough. (Add a bit more flour if the dough doesn't stick together.)

Using a tablespoon, form dough into oval gnocchi, putting them on a floured board as they're done.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion, the pork, the veal, and the chicken livers, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until onions are very soft and meat is browned, stirring frequently.

Drain the meat and onion in a colander or sieve, then return it to the skillet and add the tomato sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes more.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi to the pot in batches, cooking 1–2 minutes, or until they rise to the surface. As the gnocchi are done, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a warm serving bowl. When all the gnocchi are done, spoon the sauce over them. Do not toss the sauce.