It makes so much fun to spice our daily menus up with one untypical main ingredient. On this occasion, I decided to pair one of the Italian cuisine favorites, gnocchi, with our good old winter friend, butternut squash. Well, that was a true love at first sight, and I will tell you why.
So there is our shy and sweet vitamin packed butternut squash, sautéed gently with a bit of finely sliced Mr. Superfood leek, eventually pureed into a mouthwatering mousse. What makes this combination even more special is a guest star spice, ground cumin, which adds a bit edgy and tangy note to the overall creation. Wow, just imagine – sweet, savory (leeky) & orientally tangy – all in one, paired to perfection!
That “it” cherry on top of the icing is definitely al dente boiled gnocchi. There is no other main ingredient to complement this dish better!
So off to the kitchen guys – it is time to indulge in the most sensual & hedonistic winter meal you can imagine!
p.s. Have I mentioned all the nutritional goodness you get as a bonus? Read – 100% flue and winter cold resistant 🙂
Enrich your winter menu with this yummy and very healthy comfort meal. Butternut squash and leek mousse, paired with one the Italian cuisine favourites, gnocchi, will surely invigorate your palates and senses. Enjoy each bite to the fullest!
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 150 g leek (trimmed)
- 1 very large clove garlic (or 2 smaller)
- 350 g butternut squash (peeled and chopped)
- 1 cm / 0,4 inch fresh ginger
- 2 tsps salt for the mousse
- 1,5 tbsps salt for gnocchi (in 2 – 2,5 l of boiling water)
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne or chilli pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp red wine (optional but preferred)
- 500 g gnocchi
- 1/2 tbsp per plate shavings of parmesan or other hard cheese such as gruyere (optional but preferred if not following strict vegan diet)
Trim off leek edges, wash it thoroughly, and slice into fine rings.
Chop butternut squash into larger rings, take off the hard skin, and dice it finely.
Finely chop garlic and ginger.
Heat olive oil on a medium to higher heat in a higher edged non-stick pan or a pot.
Once hot, add leek and garlic. Stir fry for 3 minutes, then throw in pumpkin and ginger.
Sprinkle with all the spices; salt, pepper, cayenne or chilli pepper, thyme and cumin. Stir all ingredients well, then let them cook under nearly fully covered lid for 15 minutes (nearly covered lid will allow steaming and frying at the same time, just what we need for a perfect mousse).
Don’t forget to stir occasionally – and to enjoy the nice scent that is being released from the pan 🙂
After 15 minutes add 1 tbsp of red wine, stir all well, and let it simmer further under nearly fully covered lid for another 5 minutes.
Put the pan/pot off the fire, set aside, and completely cover with the lid. That way veggies will steam a bit more naturally, we want a bit mushy texture.
Meanwhile, put gnocchi water to boil with 1,5 tbsp of salt. Note that gnocchi must have enough room for “swimming” in order to boil perfectly, so make sure you use a bit bigger pot and don’t spare on the water (2 – 2,5 l of water would be ideal for 500g of gnocchi).
Once water starts boiling, throw in all the gnocchi from the package, and stay alert – they need very short period of time to boil perfectly al dente.
Keep boiling water on a higher heat throughout the process.
Once gnocchi start floating on a surface, start “fishing” them with a strainer, and place them in a separate bowl.
When all the gnocchi are happily “fished out”, half cover them with the lid until serving. This time we are only half covering to keep the heat, but avoid further natural steaming as we don’t want them to go mushy.
Quickly uncover the veggie pot, process the mixture into a smooth mousy texture with a hand stick blender, and off you go serving. Btw – blend gently to avoid overheating.
Divide sauce into 2-4 plates, top with gnocchi, sprinkle with few parmesan shavings and voila – it is time for some serious indulgence 🙂
- Feel free to sprinkle with some finely chopped fresh parsley
- Feeling exotic? Add a bit of coconut cream into veggies mixture during the cooking process (last 5 minutes, together with wine if using).
- Pickled beetroot is my favourite side dish/salad for this meal; it pairs perfectly flavour wise + it is such a brilliant additional health bonus with its’ blood cleaning properties.
- The only other alternative to gnocchi for this dish would be polenta. It will also blend just right with the mousse. However, try to stick to good quality gnocchi if possible.