Gluten Free Gnocchi (Featuring Winter Squash!)

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If you’ve never made your own gnocchi before, you are missing out on a real treat. It’s so easy, a toddler can do it.

Roll it out...

Roll it out…

Pat it out...

Pat it out…

Mark it with a... gnocchi board

Mark it with a… gnocchi board.

 

Pa Hubbard and I were introduced to gnocchi in a tiny little restaurant in Florence, Italy, long before learning that he was gluten intolerant. The restaurant, frequented by elderly local patrons, was located far away from any of the popular tourist attractions. The plump little potato dumplings we were served were remarkable! I imagined a sweet Italian grandmother in the kitchen, rolling the dough and chopping up fresh seasonal ingredients for the sauce. I was hooked.

My family loves gnocchi too. Miss Muffet and Bo Peep call them “Pi-gnocchi-oes,” after one of their favorite stories. They dance and chant, “Pi-gnocchi, Pi-gnocchi!” as they come to the table.

Immediately before my family’s diagnosis, I had ordered a case of gnocchi from an on-line store – since they contained wheat, I promptly gifted them to friends. I’ll admit, if it hadn’t been for my family’s gluten intolerance, I’d probably still be buying packaged gnocchi.

But also because of my family’s gluten intolerance, I’ve discovered the ease and FUN of making our own gnocchi! Let me tell you, these are far superior to the packaged ones. Sure, there is a little advanced preparation involved, but with the girls’ help, I make a double-batch and freeze them for quick meals after work.

Gnocchi placed on a tray lined with wax paper, ready to go into the freezer. After gnocchi harden, they can be transferred to freezer bags.

Gnocchi placed on a tray lined with wax paper, ready to go into the freezer. After gnocchi harden, they can be transferred to freezer bags.

 

Once gnocchi are prepared, it takes only about 2 minutes to cook them in boiling water, even if frozen (yet another reason to love them!). Our favorite sauce also takes seconds to make: a little olive oil and a tablespoon of homemade pesto from our freezer. Mmmm!

Winter squash gluten free gnocchi with homemade pesto.

Winter squash gluten free gnocchi with homemade pesto.

 

The recipe I’m sharing today is a gluten free adaptation of Amy Goldman’s Marina di Chiogga Gnocchi recipe, found in her book, “The Compleat Squash*.” I’ve never grown Marina di Chiogga winter squash, but in keeping with gnocchi’s Italian origins, I use Butternut Rugosa Violina Gioia, a winter squash that produces a sweet and flaky pulp when baked.

Although we prepare this recipe with an inexpensive gnocchi board (less than $5 from King Arthur Flour’s online store), you can also use a fork to form grooves in your gnocchi. A gnocchi board is much faster, however, and you’ll also end up with more grooves for your yummy sauces.

 

Gluten Free Gnocchi (Featuring Winter Squash!)
 
The operative word for the main ingredients in this recipe is “dry.” Bake, rather than boil, the potatoes (it’s much easier to scoop out baked potatoes than peel, anyway). Bake whole squash (with skin): cut in half, scoop out the seeds, place in a covered baking dish with a little water, and cook for about 1 hour at 400 degrees, or until tender. Scoop the baked squash into a colander lined with a tea towel and press to remove excess water.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups gluten free multipurpose flour with xanthan gum (King Arthur Flour preferred; see note), plus additional for rolling dough
  • 1 cup baked and well-drained winter squash (butternut gioia violina rugosa or hubbard, preferred)
  • 2 cups baked and skinned potatoes
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions
  1. In a food processor, puree the squash, potato and salt.
  2. Remove puree to a large bowl. Add flour, ¼ cup at a time, mixing well with a spoon after each addition. Upon the last flour addition, mix dough with your hands.
  3. Lightly flour your hands and work surface. Pinch off a softball-sized piece of dough, dust with flour, and form into a ball. Roll the ball of dough into a 1-inch diameter rope (or “snake” as my daughters call them).
  4. Cut each rope into ¾ inch pieces. Press each piece of dough with your thumb onto a gnocchi board (or fork tines). Roll the gnocchi up and off the board (or tines) and place on a lightly floured surface (or on a baking tray lined with wax paper if you plan to freeze gnocchi).
  5. To cook gnocchi, add water to a large pot to a depth of about 4 inches. Boil water and, working in small batches, add gnocchi. After about 2 minutes, gnocchi will float to the top of the water. Allow to cook about 30 seconds longer, and remove with a slotted utensil. Toss with desired sauce.

Notes
I prefer King Arthur Flour’s (KAF) gluten free multipurpose flour* for this recipe, but it does not contain xanthan gum. To make a stock flour, mix 4 cups KAF gluten free flour with 3 teaspoons xanthan gum. Mix well. Store unused flour in the freezer for best quality.   *Affiliate link; it costs you nothing, but helps me pay for this blog. Thank you!

 

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