December 22, 2015

Gnocchi with Squash, Spinach, and Prosciutto

I was skeptical about the combined flavors of this recipe. While I love each individual component, I couldn't imagine how this would go together and not taste weird or dry or bland. It was none of the above. I was really delicious! There ended up being a light "sauce" that pulled itself together during the cooking method. The flavors were interesting and neither boring nor weird. My kids even gobbled it up. If you have spent any amount of time perusing my blog, you know how important it is for me to get my kids to eat decently healthy, "real" food without fuss. This was no fuss. I am ashamed to admit I doubted it. I forgot to take a pic when I served it the night we had it for dinner, so I ended up snapping a photo of it when I heated it up the next day. It looks a little less great than it did the night before as it sits in the Tupperware, waiting to be microwaved. Don't let my crappy photography skills dissuade you from trying it, though. It was good and quite appetizing looking when we served it for dinner. I will say the lunch photo reminded me that the leftovers were delicious, as well. I put that as another check in the pro column for this dish. If the leftovers are good the next day and you still enjoy eating it, then I think that is the mark of a good recipe.

Gnocchi with Squash, Spinach, and Prosciutto
From: America's Test Kitchen Simple Recipes cookbook

4 tablespoons of butter
6 slices of good quality prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch strips (I used prosciutto de Parma)
2 peeled and seeded butternut squash halves (12 to 16 ounces each), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons minced fresh thyme
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock or broth
1 pound of vacuum-packed gnocchi
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces of fresh baby spinach (I used a pre-prepared bag)

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook prosciutto until crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate.

Add squash and refining butter to empty skillet and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add broth (or stock) and cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, add gnocchi and 1 tablespoon of salt to boiling water and cook until gnocchi float to the surface, about 4 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, drain gnocchi, and return to pot. Add squash mixture and toss to combine. Stir in spinach until just wilted, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Stir in prosciutto and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

I just bought a whole butternut squash and peeled, halved, cleaned, and diced it myself. Also, I did spring for the fresh thyme. As I mentioned, I was skeptical about this recipe so I pretty much followed it to the letter to give it the best possible outcome. Fresh herbs are never a mistake, so if it works for your budget try and get fresh. If not, I think substituting dried would be'd just have to do some Googling and adjust for the difference between dried vs. fresh in the recipe.

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