2 lb (approximately 1 kg) whole old russet potatoes, unpeeled
2 cups (approximately 300 gr) flour tipo 00 (Italian Imported Flour that is triple gristed and very light, almost like talcum powder)
1 tablespoon salt
Wash the potatoes, place them in a large stock pot filled with water, and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft without overcooking to prevent them from breaking. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the potatoes. Peel immediately while potatoes are still hot and mash them on a work surface using a potato masher or a food mill. When the potatoes are still warm but cool enough to be handled, shape them in a mound with a well in the center.
Add 1 cup (150 gr) of the flour, salt. Draw the ingredients together and mix to form a dough. At this point, the dough will be sticky on your hands. Sprinkle with the remaining flour all while working the dough until incorporated with the rest of flour. Kneading the dough, until is no longer too sticky. The dough must be soft and fluffy.
Roll the dough into one or two long sticks approximately 3/4 inch (2 cm) in diameter. Roll the pieces along the prongs of a common fork using one finger, in a way that the side of the piece running along the fork will be ruffled and the side you are pressing with your finger will be a little concave. In boiling salted water add your gnocchi. After about 1 – 2 minutes the gnocchi will come up to the surface, and this will be the sign that they are cooked. Don't drain gnocchi in a colander as you would do with pasta. Gnocchi are very soft and may be damaged. Just use a spider or slotted spoon.
Butternut squash crema.
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup minced shallots
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 leaves sage
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place squash in a large bowl and toss with olive oil until evenly coated. Transfer squash to a rimmed baking dish, arranging in a single layer, and place in oven until browned around the edges, about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.
Melt butter in medium saucepan. When foaming subsides, add in sage leaves and cook until they darken and crisp and butter browns slightly. Transfer sage leaves to paper towel lined plate. Add shallots to pan and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in chicken stock and squash, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until squash is completely tender, about 10 minutes. Using a stick blender, or transferring to the jar of a regular blender, puree until completely smooth.
Stir in Parmesan cheese and heavy cream and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Either crumble reserved sage into sauce, or use as a garnish. Use immediately.
The Italian word gnocco means “a stupid person.” This induced some food writers to declare that gnocchi, the dish, is responsible for the association. However, gnocchi are anything but a stupid dish. Small dumplings (Gnocchi) are one of the oldest preparations in the history of food, recorded as far back as cookbooks in the thirteenth century. In a fragment of a book of the 1300s there is a recipe for gnocchi written in the Tuscan dialect language.
In spite of the long description, gnocchi are very easy to prepare. Gnocchi can be dressed with many sauces, but are especially good with pesto, Amatriciana sauce, Ragu', four cheeses, butter and fresh tomato sauce, or very simply butter and sage...or anything fresh and available in your own kitchen!