Ricotta Squash Gnocchi

These gnocchi turn out very light and fluffy, but are a bit delicate. It took my inspiration from two different recipes to come up with a very light gnocchi. They are a teeny bit hard to handle, but that keeps them fluffy.

For the gnocchi:

1 pound butternut squash pulp squeezed dry
1 large egg + 1 egg white, lightly beaten
15 oz whole-milk ricotta (or 16 if your container is that size)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

For the sauce:
3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 fresh sage leaves, torn
Coarse salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut squash lengthwise in half. Place on baking sheet, cut side down. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let cool slightly; remove and discard the seeds, and scrape the pulp from the skin. Place the pulp in a large kitchen towel (not terrycloth), wrap it around the squash, and squeeze out most of the juices. Measure out one pound of this pulp for the recipe saving the remainder for snacking.

2. In a large bowl, combine the squash pulp, egg, ricotta, Parmigiano, salt, and 1 1/3 cups of the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon or your hands until thoroughly blended together. Transfer the mixture to a lightly floured wooden board, and, with your hands, work gently into a dough, gradually adding a little more flour if the dough sticks too much to your hands and to the board. Dust the dough lightly with flour, and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

3. To form the gnocchi, cut off a piece of dough about the size of an orange. Flour your hands lightly. Using both hands, roll out the piece of dough with a light back-and-forth motion into a rope about the thickness of your index finger. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces. Roll lightly in flour. Use as much flour as necessary to keep them from being sticky. Transfer gnocchi to a lightly floured platter or baking sheet. The gnocchi can be cooked immediately or refrigerated, uncovered, overnight.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a tablespoon salt and gnocchi, cooking them in batches to avoid crowding. Cook until the gnocchi rise to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cook for just a minute or so more.

5. As the gnocchi are cooking, make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it begins to foam, add the sage, and stir a few times. Remove the gnocchi from the pot with a slotted spoon or a skimmer, draining the excess water back into the pot, and place in the skillet. Season lightly with salt, and add a small handful of the Parmigiano. Stir over medium heat until the gnocchi are well coated with butter. Taste, adjust for seasoning, and serve immediately with a sprinkling of Parmigiano.

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