This comforting wintery dish combines a hearty batch of caramelized onions with a riff on the traditional Italian dumpling: gnocchi. Instead of using potatoes, we've opted for squash, giving the dumplings an enticingly bright color and deliciously rich flavor. Finishing off the dish with a handful of arugula provides one last bright punch of tastiness to the plate, building towards a lovely balance between the starchiness of gnocchi and the bitterness of these greens. Can't get your hands on any arugula this season? Substitute with any other bitter green and continue on as planned as you assemble this deceivingly simple and exceedingly impressive wintertime dish.
1 Local Roots butternut squash, halved with seeds removed
2 Local Roots onions, sliced
2 cloves Local Roots garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. Local Roots unsalted butter
3-4 cups Local Roots all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: 1 Tbsp. each chopped dill and/or parsley
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Roast squash on a sheet tray cut side down until tender, 35-45 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and once cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh into a blender or food processor.
4. Blend squash on high until it becomes a smooth puree.
5. In a saucepan, brown two tablespoons of butter.
6. Transfer puree from the blender to saucepan with browned butter. Stir constantly for about ten minutes until the puree becomes thick and reduces by at least a third. (Be sure remove all excess water from puree.)
7. Chill thickened puree.
8. To make the gnocchi, mix three cups flour with a pinch of salt. Make a well in the center of the flour, and place three eggs and puree in the center.
9. Slowly incorporate flour with the eggs and puree until you achieve a smooth dough. Add up to one cup more flour if dough feels too sticky. Your end result should be dough that is soft and does not stick to your hands.
10. Wrap dough in plastic and leave to rest at room temperature for one to two hours.
11. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions on low heat in a large sautée pan with a splash of olive oil. This should take at least 30 minutes. Add splashes of water if onions begin to brown too quickly.
12. Once fully caramelized, shut heat while the dough finishes resting.
13. Set a large pot of generously salted water on the stove to boil.
14. On a well floured surface, divide the dough into ten sections. Roll out eat section into a coil of dough.
15. Cut the dough coils into even ½ inch pieces. If you don’t have a gnocchi board and you still want the traditional ridges, you can press each piece with the tines of a fork. Coat well with flour so they don’t stick together.
16. In batches, cook gnocchi in boiling water until they float to the top.
17. Remove gnocchi from the water and let drain in a colander.
18. Heat the pan with the caramelized onions, adding in two tablespoons butter. Once the butter begins to bubble, add in arugula stems and stir.
19. Add in arugula leaves.
20. Add cooked gnocchi and about a cup of pasta water and gently stir everything together.
21. Cook until butter and pasta water emulsify and create a thick sauce that coats gnocchi. This will begin to happen when liquid just begins to simmer. Add more pasta water if necessary.
22. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, then stir in herbs if using.
23. Serve with plenty of grated pecorino cheese, and enjoy!
This recipe was created by Local Roots recipe contributor Sachi Nagase // @bothand.nyc
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