I was hoping to have a proper vegetable patch up and running by now but alas, it's not happened!
Fortunately the local markets have obliged. I couldn't say whether this is a local thing or true across the country but, in my experience, I find the grocery stores here in the US to be far more seasonal. Additionally, there also seems to be less regard for 'beautiful' fruits and vegetables. I'm not saying the aisles of Stop and Shop or the produce section of Shaws is stacked with organic mutants, but rather than the polished, uniform crates of perfect, waxed fruit that the UK is torn in its acceptance of, the selection here seems to be far more authentic.
To that end, the stands are piled high with a bulging rainbow of summery squash. Wanting to use what's available as well as providing options to deal with any gluts people might be having, this recipe uses squash as a substitute for potato in the gnocchi.
The flavour isn't drastically altered, though there is a slight added sweetness to the gnocchi. Rather than being a showcase for seasonal vegetables this is an option for using them up in a tasty and useful way!
Ingredients: serves 4
1 cup squash- I used a yellow summer squash but butternut, courgette/zucchini or the like would be fine
Splash olive oil
1/2 cup ricotta
3 cups all purpose/plain flour
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper
1 medium sized courgette/zucchini
Drizzle olive oil
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper
Dried summer herbs, about 1 tablespoon- use the selection from this recipe, I used my dried stockpile
Cut the squash you are using for the gnocchi into large chunks (leaving the skin on), about an inch cubed. Toss in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 400F for about 20-30 minutes, or until the squash is golden brown and very tender.
Allow the squash to cool before blitzing to a paste with a stick blender or in a food processor. Season the flour then work the squash mash through the flour. In a mug, whisk the egg, yolk and ricotta together then pour into the flour mixture, mix in well with a fork until the ingredients come together in a soft dough.
Bring the dough together in a ball and turn it out onto a floured surface. Gnocchi is not like regular pasta that needs to be laminated, over kneading or handling will make it tough and chewy.
Roll out the gnocchi to about half an inch thick and cut into rough square, pillows. You can get fancy with your gnocchi formation but I quite like a haphazardly rustic gnocchi pillow.
The gnocchi only take a few minutes to cook in salted boiling water, drop them in when the water reaches a rolling boil then wait for them to freely bob about on the surface. They should only take between 2 and 3 minutes but if you're unsure, fish one out and chop it open to check.
If you want to store the gnocchi, part cook them first. Cook for a minute in fiercely boiling water then drain in a sieve until cooled and 'dry'. Freeze on a baking sheet covered in non-stick paper, before jumbling into a tupperware box.
To serve straight away, set the gnocchi aside and pan fry your finely chopped garlic in a little olive oil for about a minute. Throw in the finely sliced courgette/zucchini and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on a high heat. Throw in the gnocchi and turn off the heat under the pan, warm the gnocchi through and mix in with the courgette in the residual heat of the pan. Sprinkle over your summer herbs, mix through then serve.
Goes beautifully with a chilled glass of white wine, as do most summery dishes!