Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Mushrooms

5 from 9 votes
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Like a lot of Italian food, squash gnocchi are super simple, but this recipe hinges on great ingredients.

The difference between, say, canned squash puree and fresh — or fresh mushrooms versus stale, store-bought ones, or, God forbid, canned mushrooms. Good butter, freshly ground black pepper, good, fresh sage. All matter.

A bowl of butternut squash gnocchi with mushrooms
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Gnocchi, pronounced something like “n-yoke-ee” if you’re not familiar with them, are Italian dumplings usually made with mashed potatoes. But pumpkin or butternut squash gnocchi is also super common, as are ricotta cheese gnocchi. All are bound together with flour, and often eggs, too.

I also make gnocchi with herbs, and an absolutely lovely spring pea gnocchi that is as vernal as butternut squash gnocchi are autumnal.

No matter what you make them from, gnocchi can range from light, airy pillows of awesome, to leaden lumps the Italians, in their earthy way, call “asshole stoppers.” You get the idea.

Whether yours are one or the other hinges on the amount of flour you use. The better you get making gnocchi, the less flour you use, and the lighter the gnocchi. It takes practice.

Butter, sage and winter squash are an eternal combination, and I repeat that here.

Closeup of butternut squash gnocchi
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I also include lots of wild mushrooms, too, in this case Agaricus augustus, a mushroom known as the Prince. You can use whatever fresh wild or store-bought mushroom you want. The combination screams winter here in California, and it is crazy good.

A big, bold white wine would be what I’d pair with this recipe, but I suppose you could use a light red like a Grenache or Gamay. This isn’t really beer food, though.

Another cool thing is this: Since butternut squash gnocchi are really just flour, eggs, and squash, once you learn how to make them, this is something you can whip together in very rustic circumstances, like duck or deer camp. Good way to impress your friends…

A bowl of butternut squash gnocchi with mushrooms
5 from 9 votes

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms

This is a recipe that can be easily modified to work with whatever squash or whatever mushrooms you happen to have around. I use butternut squash and a wild mushroom known as the Prince, but you can get very close using cremini or Portobello mushrooms -- they're related. You can also use other winter squash here, but remember some are wetter than others; many pumpkins happen to be very wet, for instance. Butternut and kabocha squash are my favorites, but you can also acorn squash or other members of the Curcurbita maxima species.
Course: Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients 

GNOCCHI

  • 1 cup of cooked, pureed squash
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • A big pinch of salt
  • A few swipes of fresh nutmeg, or 1/4 teaspoon ground

MUSHROOMS

  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh sage
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Prep the mushrooms. Put the mushrooms in a large pan and set them over high heat. Shake them around a bit and sprinkle them with salt. Heat, shaking often, until they release their water, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and saute until nicely browned. Set aside.
  • Make the gnocchi dough. Mix all the gnocchi ingredients together in a large bowl. If you are new to making gnocchi, you might need a little more flour than I call for; add it 1/4 cup at a time. The dough should be sticky, but workable.
  • Form the gnocchi. Cut the dough into 4 pieces, and lay a damp towel over those you aren't using while working with 1 piece at a time. Gently roll out the dough into a snake -- you will likely make several as they get long -- and cut the dough into pieces the size of your thumbnail. Roll the little pieces against a fork or a gnocchi roller and dust with a little flour. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the dough.
  • Boil the gnocchi. Get a large pot of water boiling and add a small handful of salt. Add about a dozen gnocchi at a time and simmer until they float. Move them to a pan and drizzle a little olive oil over them. Set aside until you have all the gnocchi finished.
  • Finish the dish. Add the rest of the butter to the pan you cooked the mushrooms in and put it over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi, mushrooms and sage and toss to combine. Let them cook now for 1 minute undisturbed, so you get a little browning on the gnocchi. Repeat this one more time, then serve with black pepper.

Nutrition

Calories: 592kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 267mg | Potassium: 671mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 4424IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 249mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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14 Comments

  1. Excellent. I rarely make pasta and have steered away from making gnocchi, which I love, as I figured I would just be disappointed. This recipe was excellent and I couldn’t have been happier with the texture of the gnocchi. Few key elements that I believe helped. 1) used garden grown honey-nut squash which is probably lower in water content than store bought version. 2) bellwether farms ricotta: it’s in a self drained container and I think helped keep moisture content down. All this lead to me getting away with about 2.5 cups of flour and an excellent dinner. Thank you hank.

  2. Made last night. Delicious, and a big hit with everyone.
    I did struggle with holding them after cutting them, before boiling. Though dusted well with flour, they stuck together terribly. Ended up with larger amorphous lumps instead of nice little pillows. Still delicious, but not pretty.
    I would suggest a more specific direction in the recipe rather than, “dust with flour and put them in a pan.” I suggest placing them “on a well floured piece of parchment paper in a single layer on a half-sheet pan.”
    Will definitely make this again!

  3. I’ve made this recipe (or slight variations of it) several times, and while I absolutely adore the flavors, I always seem to need more flour to get the dough workable than what the recipe calls for. One useful trick I’ve picked up is to press a double or triple layer of paper towels on either side of the squash puree to draw out any excess moisture, which ultimately brings the amount of flour down. Hopefully I can improve even more with a little more practice.

  4. Made this with pumpkin and baby bellas, probably the most pedestrian combo. It was good, they were a little heavy, but hopefully I’ll get better with practice.

  5. Kabocha squash gets marketed as Buttercup around here and I really can’t tell any difference anyway. They are the same as far as I’m concerned. For those who are unaware, buttercup squash are not to be confused with the more familiar butternut squash. Buttercups are my favorite squash and are always a crowd pleaser at pot lucks.

  6. Did a double batch with some acorn type squash from my past garden. Turned out great, and froze a bunch up, un-boiled. We had them with Chanterelles from the freezer, and man-o-man… it got gluttonous.

      1. I’ve never made my own, but I have bought gnocchi made with sweet potato. It was 80% sweet potato/20% flour, and I think a little potato starch thrown in – I don’t recall precisely and don’t have the packaging at hand. The brand was an Italian import, I think. Very good but, curiously, not a strong taste of sweet potato.

  7. Did you find Agaricus augustus in California at this time of year? In Washington it only fruits in summer/fall. I am thinking to try this recipe with portobello and a little ground almond in the flour to replicate the almondy taste of the Prince mushroom.