Things are about to get awfully quiet around here. And I’m not going to like it.
Last spring, one roommate abandoned me for San Francisco—something about it offering more amenities than Steubenville. I know: crazy talk. Now, in a little over a week, my other roommate will abandon me for a small apartment two blocks away (and a bit deeper in the local ’hood). Apparently, she wants to actually live with her new husband after they get married. It happens.
So, here I am, facing the impending winter and a whole lot of quiet. Accordingly, the melancholic in me has been thinking back to last fall, when the house was full up with girls.
Granted, getting all of us in one place sometimes felt like a minor miracle. Between travel, boyfriends, and work, it didn’t happen very often. But when it did, there was always food involved— like the crisp November night, when I decided to investigate what happened when you fry gnocchi in brown butter, then toss it with roasted butternut squash, bacon, sage, and pumpkin oil.
Yeah, that was a good idea. And a good night.
Pluses to this recipe: it’s fast, easy, and fifty shades of awesome. “Autumn on a plate” is probably the best way to describe it—a little sweet, a little savory, and cozy as can be.
It also is a good way to use pumpkin oil, which Trader Joe’s currently has on special, will last forever, and looks like fall in a bottle. Kudos, Trader Joe’s marketing team.
Minuses to this recipe: There are never any leftovers. Never. Which totally stinks.
Now that I think about it, though, no roommates to share this dish with means…no roommates to share this dish with. So, maybe I can get some leftovers out of this dish after all.
Maybe. Silver linings.
Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Brown Butter
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
- 1 16 oz. box of gnocchi
- 2 cups butternut squash, chopped
- 6 pieces of bacon
- 10-12 fresh sage leaves
- 1/4 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 pinches of kosher salt (roughly .5 teaspoon)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Pumpkin oil (for drizzling)
- Cook bacon, drain, roughly chop, and set aside.
- While bacon cooks, peel and chop your butternut squash. Toss with olive oil, garlic, and salt, then spread it out on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper.
- Roast squash in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until it begins to caramelize on the bottom.
- While the squash roasts, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in gnocchi.
- Right before you pour the gnocchi in the boiling water, begin melting the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Even after it melts, let it continue cooking. It should turn to a beautiful brown color by the time the gnocchi finishes boiling. Just don’t let it burn!
- As soon as all the gnocchi have floated to the surface (about 3-4 minutes tops), use a slotted spoon to lift them out of the water (allowing the excess liquid to drain off over the pot), then transfer them directly to the melted butter in the frying pan (this will take quite a few passes).
- Arrange the gnocchi in a single layer in the frying pan. Continue cooking (flipping and tossing the gnocchi occasionally) until the gnocchi is golden all over and has a slight crunch to the bite (about 7-10 minutes).
- In the last minute or so of cooking, toss in whole sage leaves and allow them to fry with the gnocchi.
- The butternut squash should finish roasting right as the gnocchi finishes frying. Turn off the heat, remove the squash from the oven, and toss the squash, and bacon into the pan with the gnocchi and sage.
- Divide the gnocchi evenly on plates, top with pumpkin seeds, and just a drizzle of the pumpkin oil. Serve immediately.
- Homemade gnocchi is a fantastic, wonderful, delicious gift from God. I totally encourage everyone to make their gnocchi from scratch if they have the know-how and time. But it also seems like a horrible waste of time (and homemade gnocchi) to then fry it up in a pan. When frying gnocchi, it’s really okay to use the boxed stuff. Don’t feel guilty. This is supposed to be an easy recipe.
- When I’ve made this in the past, I’ve used DeLallo’s Gluten-Free Gnocchi. It’s a great option for those of you who need to avoid gluten. But, if you do that, know that you’ll need two boxes instead of one. The single box only serves two. (The label says three, but it lies.)
- Because I have two ovens, I can cook my bacon and butternut squash simultaneously at two different temperatures. That makes this dish even easier for me. But, you can just as easily fry the bacon on the stove or cook it in the oven first, then move on to the other tasks. Just do what time and individual preference dictates for you.
- If you need to double this recipe, don’t overcrowd the pan with gnocchi. Instead, repeat the process (boiling a second batch, while the first one fries, then keeping the first batch warm under foil, while the second one fries). Overcrowding the pan (or boiling all the gnocchi at one time and waiting to fry half of it) will create a mushy mess.
- The sage, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin oil can seem like unnecessary add-ons, but I assure you, they are not.