Learn how to make homemade butternut squash gnocchi from scratch with no effort. Serve with lemon butter sauce and you’ve got the perfect plant-based dish to impress your guests.
I’m a big fan of gnocchi. They’re packed with comforting flavors and make a perfect weeknight meal to enjoy on a chilly day. Traditionally prepared with potatoes, I used mashed butternut squash in my recipe today, which make them more subtle in taste and also incredibly colorful! Add the lemon butter sauce, some extra toppings, and this simple everyday dish becomes an elegant recipe for special occasions.
But let’s be honest for a minute. Homemade gnocchi seem a little bit advanced, technical and time consuming too. If you feel that way, I’ve got your back! I used to feel the same and kept going for store-bought gnocchi for a very long time. This, until I realized how simple it was. I now have the confidence to make my own gnocchi and I’m happy to guide you through my step-by-step guide to help you become a gnocchi expert too. Ready to jump in?
How to make homemade gnocchi?
Butternut squash gnocchi recipe is no different than the classic potato gnocchi recipe, except maybe in the proportions and the fact of course that mashed potato is here replaced by mashed butternut squash. Note that you could use any other edible winter squash mash instead, although I like the butternut for its delicate flavor compared to real pumpkin puree for instance.
Ingredients you need to make gnocchi:
- Butternut Squash
- All-purpose flour
- Parmesan cheese, grated
The first step is to mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spatula. They should form a sticky ball, but not to sticky either. If this happens, add a little bit more flour to make the dough more supple and easier to handle. Roll the dough longer than wide so it makes a large log.
How do you shape gnocchi?
- Transfer the dough to a clean working surface, lightly floured.
- Slice into 6 equal pieces.
- Take each piece, and roll into a long rope.
- Cut each rope into small pieces, forming the gnocchi.
Now the tricky part is to give the gnocchi these little ridges (also called Rigagnocchi) on each gnocchi – a must among gnocchi lovers! On a busy day, you can skip this part and leave your gnocchi plain, looking like miniature pillows. If you go for the little ridges, there are 2 methods: 1/ with a gnocchi board, 2/ with a fork.
- If you use a gnocchi board, place the gnocchi on the board and gently press with your thumb in one movement across the board in order to form an indentation in the dough.
- If you use a fork, proceed exactly the same, using the curved inside of the fork to make the ridges.
I used both methods in the past and my personal choice goes to the gnocchi board. A fork doesn’t create very deep ridges, which makes most of them disappear when cooking. Whichever method you use, place ready-to-use gnocchi on a parchment covered with baking sheet and dust lightly with flour to prevent from sticking.
How to cook gnocchi?
It’s important to keep in mind that gnocchi do not store very well, so it’s better to cook them the same day. If you have too much of them, just place them in a ziplock bag and freeze.
Cooking gnocchi is as easy as cooking pasta. Gently place them in boiling water, then wait a couple of minutes. When gnocchi come to the surface, it means they are done and ready to drain! To make them even tastier, add gnocchi to a skillet with some butter and sauté until slightly golden, shaking the pan often to prevent gnocchi from sticking to the bottom.
I serve butternut squash gnocchi with a simple lemon butter sauce, fresh sage, and add some extra toppings. Grated parmesan cheese is a must, and I recommend you add some lemon zest too.
More gnocchi and pasta recipes:
- Beet Gnocchi with Sage Butter
- Thai Curry Fettuccine with Pumpkin Sauce
- Sweet Potato & Goat Cheese Ravioli
- Wild Mushroom Pasta with Walnut Pesto
If you like winter squash, try also:
- Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash
- Roasted Turmeric Winter Squash Quinoa Bowl
- Butternut Squash Noodles with Vegan Cashew Sauce
- Whole Wheat Pizza with Roasted Butternut & Brussels Sprout
- Easy Butternut Squash Risotto
- Winter Quiche with Pumpkin and Goat Cheese
Learn how to make homemade butternut squash gnocchi from scratch with no effort. Serve with lemon butter sauce, sage, and you’ve got the perfect plant-based dish to impress your guests.
For the gnocchi:
- 10.5 ounces (300g) fresh butternut squash, steamed or boiled, then mashed*
- 1/2 cup (130g) ricotta, full fat
- 1 and 1/2 cup (180g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup (50g) parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) butter, for cooking
- 5.3 ounces (150g) fresh baby spinach
For the lemon butter sauce:
- 1 sticks (115g) salted butter
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 3–4 Tablespoons) + zest
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Fresh sage leaves
- Parmesan, freshly grated
For the gnocchi:
- Drain mashed butternut in a colander lined with paper towel and leave for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl and using a wooden spatula, mix together butternut squash puree, ricotta, egg, all-purpose flour, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky but should comes away from edge of bowl and form a ball. If too sticky, add a touch of flour – but the bare minimum required to be able to handle it.
- Dust a work surface with flour, tip dough out, sprinkle with flour then pat into log shape. Cut into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a long 1/2 inch (1,30 cm) rope, then cut the rope into small pieces, forming the gnocchi.
- To shape the gnocchi hold a fork or a gnocchi board in one hand and place a gnocchi piece against the tines of the fork (or gnocchi board), cut ends out. With confidence and an assertive (but very light) touch, use your thumb and press in and down the length of the fork.
- Transfer to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place gnocchi in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Cook for 1 minute or until all the gnocchi rises to the surface (means it is cooked), then drain.**
- Add gnocchi to a skillet with one Tablespoon of butter on medium heat and cook, shaking the pan, until the gnocchi is just starting to turn brown, about 1 minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about one minute. Remove from heat.
For the lemon butter sauce:
- In a small saucepan, melt butter on medium-high heat. When melted add lemon juice, zest and garlic, and simmer on low for about 5 minutes.
- Serve the gnocchi with lemon butter sauce, fresh sage leaves and additional parmesan cheese, freshly grated.
* For a quicker version, you can use pumpkin puree instead, about 2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree.
** Make ahead tips: Note that gnocchi do not keep well. They become a bit sticky when refrigerated for too long. A little tip is to add dusting flour before refrigerating for up to 2 days or freeze uncooked. To do so, spread out in single layers with paper in between in an airtight container. Once firm, transfer into ziplock bags. Frozen gnocchi can be cooked from frozen – they will dimple a tiny bit more but they taste like they’ve been made fresh!
Keywords: Butternut squash gnocchi