When is comes to Italian cuisine what intrigues me most are two aspects, the simplicity of the sauces and the making of the pastas. The sauces you would think are straight forward enough but I find it to be an art extracting maximum flavor from minimal in season ingredients paired with good olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The art of pasta making I revere. The thought of making artisanal pumpkin or spinach pastas just heightens my senses. One of my favorites is the very finicky gnocchi.
This time around I wanted to pair the seasonal butternut with Italian cuisine. I remembered a few weeks ago my friend Lora The Cake Duchess made some Potato and Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Bolognese Sauce. She must have read my mind. Instead of Bolognese sauce I wanted to keep this recipe vegetarian and continue with the butternut theme so you will find below Sage, Garlic and Butternut Puree to accompany the gnocchi.
Sage, Garlic and Butternut Puree
1 1/2 lbs butternut squash
Olive oil for brushing
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and brush it with a bit of olive oil.Trim butternut's stem and half butternut squash lengthwise. Scoop seeds and place skin side up in cookie sheet. Roast in oven for 45 minutes - 1 hour. Fork for doneness. Let cool slightly scoop out of skin and puree in a food processor or a blender to a smooth consistency.
8 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 Sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
Salt to taste
Add olive oil to a skillet on low, medium, add the minced garlic and let cook gently until garlic is soft. Make sure garlic does not brown. Add sage leaves and crisp slightly. Add the butternut puree, salt and white pepper and cook for a few minutes longer.
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste
Baby sage leaves found at the bottom of the stems
At the bottom of a plate or large soup bowl scoop a generous portion of the butternut puree and place a few gnocchi on top. Garnish with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh baby sage leaves and serve.
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