Butternut squash gnocchi for Thanksgiving!

My fourth Thanksgiving … can you tell? More than 3 years already passed from that day we relocated  “to the other side of the world”…and guess what? I like it, even though when it’s time for “family” recurrence.

In the movies we see students who come back home to celebrate Thanksgiving, whole family reunion around a turkey, grandparents with kids on the lap. Yes, Thanksgiving it’s about family but it’s also about people you care of, people we thank to be friends with. And we have found very good friends  here and meeting around food it’s, you know, my favourite way to stay together. I have no old traditions to share so I created my own: I prepared again butternut squash gnocchi with butter and sage. 

When 3 years ago I was brain storming about what to cook for this big celebration (here the post of my first Thanksgiving), I ended up making one of my mother in law’s recipe with pumpkin. We were not fan of pumpkin but was one of the traditional ingredients for Thanksgiving so yes, it was worth to try. 

Still recall the afternoon before. Davide was at the grocery to buy the main ingredient for the gnocchi but he called me right away:

“I can’t see the pumpkin you want”

“Come on Davide, how can it be?… we have  pumpkins everywhere here in US”,

“Olga, really, I don’t see any pumpkin…they have squash…is that what you want?”

“Mhmhmh… squash you said? No, I need a piece of pumpkin. Ok, let me google what is the difference”.

I typed “Squash” and BOOM! millions of information were displayed on my iPAD. That day I learned how wide is the squash family and to make Italian gnocchi Davide had to look for a specific type of pumpkin, the butternut squash, kind of sweet and delicious if roasted. Digging a bit more I learned that the pumpkin used for carving despite edible doesn’t taste good and it’s not sold for cooking…really!?!??!?!

Anyway, here is the recipe for those friends who tasted it and who liked it. I know that wherever I’ll be in the future, this recipe will always be my Thanksgiving dish 🙂


  • 500 gr butternut squash
  • 400 gr russet potato
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 150 -200 gr all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 5-7 leaves fresh sage


Wash the potatoes, put in a large pan with cold water and bring to boil. Cook for 30 minutes or until they are very tender. Drain. Peel them  and while still warm, press through potato ricer into medium bowl; cool completely. Why cooking potatoes like that and not in pieces? Because they absorb less water and you will need less flour to make the dough.

Peel the squash, discard seeds and cut into pieces; microwave it on high 10 minutes until they are very soft. You can also put in the oven but the microwave is quicker and prevent from having the squash drying too much. Let it cool.

Put the squash into processor and puree until smooth. Mix with the potato puree. Add the egg, salt and the first 150 gr of flour. Start kneading gently  the mixture in the bowl until dough holds together and is almost smooth. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoon. The amount of flour will depend by the potatoes and squash type. Don’t add too much flour, otherwise the final taste will be compromised. Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead gently but briefly just until smooth. Divide dough into equal pieces.

Roll 1 dough piece at a time on a floured surface to about 1,5 cm (1/2 inch) thick rope and cut  into 2 cm (3/4 inch) long pieces.

Put pieces on a floured baking sheet and set aside. Repeat with remaining dough.

Melt butter in a large pan over low heat. Add sage; stir 1 minute and leave there for the time you prepare gnocchi. 

Cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until will float to surface. Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi in the butter & sage cream.

Serve warm and Happy Thanksgiving!!


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