Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Sage

I've always loved the rich and savory combination of pasta, squash and sage. A new, favorite restaurant features a special dish on their fall and winter menu that uses potato gnocchi rather than plain pasta with squash and sage. When I found this Cooks Illustrated recipe for the main ingredients, I decided to try it using some store-bought gnocchi.

It was fantastic!

The method of first sautéing the bacon with the sage and then using the bacon drippings to carmelize the squash was a wonderful idea.

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Sage
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from a recipe published January 1, 2009 from Cook's Illustrated.


4 slices bacon , halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
8 large fresh sage leaves , plus 1 tablespoon minced (I used frozen leaves from my garden)
1 medium medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 scallions , sliced thin (about 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon sugar
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound prepared potato gnocchi
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted


1. Cook bacon in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add whole sage leaves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl, reserving bacon fat and bacon-sage mixture separately.

2. Return skillet to high heat, add 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat (adding olive oil if necessary) and heat until shimmering. Add squash in even layer and cook, without stirring, until beginning to caramelize, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until spotty brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Add butter and allow to melt, about 30 seconds. Add scallions, nutmeg, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and minced sage; cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer; continue to cook until squash is tender, 1 to 3 minutes longer.

3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large stock pot over high heat. Add store-bought potato gnocchi (I used Alessi brande). Cook for 3-4 minutes, until gnocchi rises to the surface. Drain in a colander.

4. Add squash mixture to pasta; stir in 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese,and reserved bacon-sage mixture, adjusting consistency with reserved pasta liquid. Serve, passing almonds and Parmesan separately.


  1. This sounds so good Susan! I've copied and look forward to trying it soon.

  2. Oh, Susan... I love all those flavors... I'll bet it was delicious!

  3. oh my, fab new look, fab new painting! this blogging was made for you to showcase the goods!

    and your new dishes showing off what looks like a damn good meal! opps i swore! i think it becasue all i had today was like 30 cupcakes, real food has me WILD WITH DESIRE! gorgeous pics, and excellent looking recipe, now you made me hungry...

  4. Looks lovely; I have been on a butternut squash kick as of late, and I do believe I will have to bookmark this to try soon. Thanks!

  5. I so enjoy butternut squash. Cooks Illustrated is one of my favorites. I bet this was wonderful. I'm going to copy it.Thanks!

  6. This sounds good! I happened to have some butternut squash in the fridge!

  7. I have everything!!
    Great idea..I once had gnocchi w/ escargots in a fine resto and recreated..this should be amazing thanks Susan..and it looks so beau on the plates!!

  8. Combinations sounds wonderful..another keeper!

    Love your new painting in the header..such talent!

  9. That looks delicious, I love butternut squash...
    And your new look on the blog...beau!

  10. Ooooh this looks fabulous. You share the most interesting recipes Susan! Thank you for sharing them with us.

  11. I am making this for dinner tonight. I love the "look" of your blog, your photography and your wonderful watercolor (header).

    My husband has some almost exact duplicates of pictures of a cardinal and trees in winter (NY).

    Of course I have a thing for "red"!

    Lovely to find you!

  12. I made it, with more bacon (turkey) and one cubed chicken breast (poached), no butter, and honey (not sugar) and my family is bowing at my feet! Wow!

    This is a winner.


  13. Thanks so much for visiting and your review of the recipe, Denese!


I appreciate your comment!