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Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Squash and Gorgonzola
I pity my cat.
Every day she eats the same chicken kibble--crunch, crunch, chew, chew. Day in and day out she always knows that breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served at precisely the same time....and she will receive precisely the same thing, day after day after day.
Despite the obvious luxuries of sleeping 20 hours a day, not paying rent or mortgage, and "owning" the entire universe, I could not be a cat.
I love diversity. I love surprise.
And when cooking, I love to create contrasts in the foods I serve to my friends and family. Pairing creamy with crunchy, or sweet with savory is what makes food interesting and enjoyable. Even the lowly scoop of vanilla ice cream is elevated (no pun intended) when placed atop a crisp waffle cone.
Last evening I experimented on my family and found a serendipitous combination of sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy that they raved about.
A Few Words about Blue Cheese
Blue cheese has a distinctive, pungent taste, but not all blue cheeses are created equal. The most popular blue cheeses are Cambozola, Gorgonzola, Maytag Blue, Roquefort, and Stilton.
- Cambozola is a German cheese. Unlike other blues, it is creamy and has a much milder flavor. If you are a blue cheese newbie, this might be a good one for you to start with.
- Gorgonzola is the blue cheese of Italy. Italian-made Gorgonzolas (Gorgonzola dolce) are creamy and mild; domestic versions made in the United States are sharper and more crumbly.
- Maytag Blue is an American blue cheese--it is quite crumbly and pungent.
- Roquefort is a French sheep's-milk cheese and is considered to be one of the finest of the blue cheeses.
- Stilton is made in England. It's firmer and milder than Roquefort or Gorgonzola.
- 1 butternut squash, small
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pkg. potato gnocchi, 500 grams (17.6 oz.)
- 1 1/4 cups half and half
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, ground
- 1 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons hazelnuts, crushed
- grated parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
- Peel, seed, and dice (about 1/2-inch) squash--enough to make about 2 cups. Heat butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender and well browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same saute pan, bring the half and half to a simmer over low heat. Add the nutmeg and Gorgonzola and stir until the cheese begins to melt.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil over medium-high heat. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and add to the half and half/Gorgonzola mixture in the saute pan. Add the cooked diced squash and stir gently until all of the gnocchi and squash are coated with sauce and are heated through.
- Garnish with hazelnuts and Parmesan cheese.
What Makes This Recipe Work?
- Butternut squash sauteed in butter becomes creamy, sweet, and caramelized. But it is more than just a pretty face; butternut is full of fiber and beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6 and potassium.
- Pre-packaged gnocchi cooks quickly.
- Nutmeg is a spice commonly paired with creamy sauces; it lends an sweet heat elusive flavor that enhances the final dish.
- Gorgonzola is distinctive--creamy, funky deliciousness.
- Hazelnuts are uniquely sweet and provide a contrasting crunch.
- Parmesan cheese on top...why not? Salty cheesy goodness in every bite.
© 2013 Linda Lum