Monday, September 19, 2011

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Moroccan Sauce

Yummy note: I love this part of the month, what is it you ask... it's Secret Recipe Club time, when I read about all the fun that the other food bloggers are having. There are so many wonderful blogs out there where people are opening their kitchen windows and letting us peek in at their passion of food, writing, and photography. For September’s Secret Recipe Club recipe post, I am featuring Jenny's Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Moroccan Lamb Sauce from her blog called Savour the Senses. I began my search on Jenny's blog and realized this her first month to the Secret Recipe Club fun, so say make sure you welcome Jenny to the club!  So as I began this month's journey, it often requires some searching through my assigned blogger’s site for hours, then I get distracted and see several recipes I love, and then, it seems like days later, I find that just right recipe. I really enjoyed this blog post by Jenny as it totally sounded like something that would happen to me, as she mentioned, “Don’t get me wrong, the dish was delicious, I just had a few mishaps while trying to prepare it.” – Oh, that is totally me, I thought, as I always seem to hit bump in the road to steer me a bit off track no matter what I do. This gnocchi is so versatile that I used it in two different dishes already this month! Also the meat sauce I'm sure would be delicious on top of rice or any other pasta, as the seasonings are just wonderful. So don't be afraid of the heat or spices in this dish, as it is similar to the heat of a good bowl of chili. Jenny, thank you for inspiring me to take the challenge this month and make some wonderfully tasting homemade gnocchi with a Moroccan-inspired sauce.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Moroccan Sauce

Original recipe adapted slightly from Savour the Senses

For the Butternut Squash Gnocchi:
About a 2-2.5 lb butternut squash (need to yield about 1 ½ cups of squash flesh)
3 eggs
1 cup flour (plus a few tablespoons more if needed)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

For the Moroccan Meat Sauce:
2 tsp olive oil
small onion (diced)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 lb ground beef
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow summer squash
Salt/pepper to taste

For the Gnocchi – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the butternut squash for roasting: Chop the top and bottom off of the squash, then cutting it in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Roast the squash by placing them cut side down on a baking pan, and bake for about an hour or until it is fork tender. At this point, I let my butternut squash cool before I started to mix the gnocchi dough. I’m not sure if you really need to let it cool before processing, but I did and it seemed to work fine. I did what fit into my schedule, and that was to let it chill for a bit and come back to it when I had more free time. Once you have your squash flesh cut out of the shell, measure out roughly 1 ½ cups of butternut squash.

In a food processor, (I used my dough hook), begin pulsing together the squash, eggs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Add in your flour and pulse the dough until combined, you may need to continue adding more flour if the gnocchi is too sticky. It should appear kind of smooth when all of the flour is incorporated. I wish I had better advice to offer on when the dough is “ready” but I am not sure, since this was my first time making gnocchi! :) So once you think the gnocchi dough is “ready,” bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a scooper, drop about a tablespoon of the gnocchi mixture into the boiling water. Scoop several gnocchi into the boiling water and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the gnocchi starts to float. Once they begin to float, take them out of the pot to drain. Repeat until all of your gnocchi is done.

I really enjoyed this gnocchi, as I ended up using it in two different recipes! Besides making the meat sauce recipe from Savour the Senses, I also made a wonderful Chicken and Gnocchi soup with my cute little gnocchi, which I will save that recipe for another day.. :)

Also note, it was super easy to freeze too, just let them dry a bit before putting them into the freezer so that they don't stick together. Ok, as I wander thinking about other yummy food, back to the Moroccan Meat Sauce from Savour the Senses.

For the sauce- Heat the olive oil, onion and minced garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes, just until the onions start to get soft. Then add in your ground meat choice and brown the meat; I used beef, but in Jenny’s original recipe she used lamb, so use what you’d like. At the same time, add in your spices, and stir. Next, add in can of tomatoes and chopped squash and zucchini chunks.

Simmer the sauce, uncovered until it starts to thicken up, probably about 15-20 minutes. For the last few minutes, add your gnocchi back into the pan and let the flavors mingle together while the gnocchi reheats in the sauce. Season with additional salt and pepper to finish and enjoy.


  1. This recipe looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. This is the perfect dish to make now that cooler weather is upon us. Looks fabulous!

  3. So fun! I am so happy to be a part of SRC =) I'm glad you made gnocchi! I just made it again for the second time EVER recently, I am slowly getting better at it. Thanks for all the nice comments about my site =)

    Jenny @ Savour the Senses

  4. I have never made gnocchi with anything other than potatoes. That squash version sounds fantastic.

  5. Yum! I've never made gnocchi from scratch before, but you and Jenny make it sound easy.
    I can just imagine how delicious they must be with the butternut squash mixed in... plus, I can never resist anything with Moroccan flavours, so this sauce sounds like it's right up my alley. Adding this to my must-try list!

  6. This looks like a great recipe. It is fun cooking with you in the SRC. Hope you are having a great day and thanks for sharing!
    Miz Helen

  7. Stopping by from group B. So fun to be in the Secret Recipe Club with you. Great Post! butternut squash gnocchi sound great for a fall dinner! I can't wait for your chicken and gnocchi soup too!

    If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to drop by my blog and check out my SRC recipe this month: Avocado Omelet

  8. The gnocchi sound good on their own but the flavors in the sauce must have put it over the top. Great SRC choice.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my group "A" SRC recipe this month: Welsh Cakes.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  9. Wow you are brave making gnocchi for SRC! I've only made it once and it was a lot of work. Looks good!

  10. Delish! It's interesting that the sauce is called Moraccan as it could easily be called Italian too. I bet it was wonderful.

    I'm new to the SRC this month. I hope you'll stop by and pay me a visit.


  11. What a neat looking pasta-fusion dish. It must taste great!

  12. Oh this is brilliance in a bowl - we will have to try this - I love the idea of butternut squash gnocchi! :) Yum!
    The Daily Dish

  13. What an interesting take on gnocchi. I bet it's packed with flavor!

    If you'd like, check out my SRC post :)

  14. Yum! Looks great -- I'm loving SRC, so many new recipes to try!

  15. I love gnocchi! This recipes looks especially delicious. Visiting from SRC.

  16. Thanks for posting with us and for being a part of the SRC with me (group b). I am excited and looking forward to next month too!

    Here is what I posted this month: Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie

  17. I have never made gnocchi myself. Seems to take a long time! You are very brave and try. I think that is beautiful gnocchi recipe, even if the "flop", dumplings still taste so delicious ... as gnocchi cooked stew. A delight!
    Grow Lamps

  18. Love all the spices in this Moroccan sauce!
    Fun being in the Secret Recipe Club with you. I baked up tarts this month for Group C

  19. Yummy! I love gnocchi! and I love SRC!!