Our farmers market finally started again. I cannot believe it has been six months already since we enjoyed our last farmers’ market tomatoes, berries and more. Even after all these years, I still find it fascinating how when the rest of the country is going into almost hibernation, we are now enjoying being outside and our growing season begins once again.
It was about 6:30 on Sunday morning when J. came rushing in our room. “Can we go to the farmers’ market park and get some doughnuts with the sprinkles on them?” It is one of the things we look forward to the most. Walk around, get fresh produce and eggs for the week, something to eat and then head across the street to the park.
We played hard indeed.
C. took the kids to a friend’s house to give me some time to work and unwind. Sometimes, there is nothing better than an empty house and silence.
I put all my farmers’ market goodies away, sat down and then felt a sudden urge to make gnocchi. It had been a long time.
I remembered my years in the pastry kitchen when our head chef would arrive early in the morning, before any of his cooks did, so he could make pasta in peace and quiet. Kneading, rolling, filling, folding… Not a word, just music and his pasta.
Perhaps the silence I found at home was really what inspired me to make these gnocchi. Little dumplings of roasted red kuri squash from the market with Robert and Paula’s eggs, quinoa flour and hazelnuts. They were delicious and rich tossed in brown butter, fresh sage and toasted hazelnuts.
For dessert, these little pots of chocolate and hazelnut butter custard made with coconut milk and vanilla bean.
The perfect ending.
Red Kuri Squash, Quinoa and Hazelnut Gnocchi with Brown Butter, Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts
makes enough for 2 large or 4 small servings
1 lb (454 grams) roasted red kuri squash puree (1 medium red kuri squash)
olive oil and salt to roast the squash
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup (60 grams) quinoa flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) hazelnut flour
2 Tbs (20 grams) tapioca starch
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Dusting gluten free flour mix
3 Tbs butter, browned
2 Tbs frsh sage, finely chopped
2 Tbs toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Parmesan cheese, optional
Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Cut each half into strips and place them on a baking sheet. Toss them with a little olive oil and salt. Roast them at 400F for about 30 minutes or until tender. Let them cool for a few minutes until cool enough to handle.
Puree the squash into a large bowl with a food mill or a potato ricer. This allows the puree to be light and fluffy and the dry ingredients are incorporated quickly without having to overwork the dough. Weigh 1 lb of puree.
Add the egg yolk, quinoa flour, hazelnut meal, tapioca starch, salt and nutmeg. Mix with a fork. It will be a sticky dough.
Dust a wooden board or your work surface with flour. Coat your hands with flour. Take a medium ball and roll it into a long log that is about 1/2″ thick in diameter. Cut this log into 1- 1 1/2″ pieces. Roll each piece on your fork to create indentations and drop it on a baking sheet lined with lightly floured parchment. Repeat until you have cut all the dough.
You can cook them on freeze them at this point. To freeze them, stick the baking sheet in the freezer and when the gnocchi are hard, put them in a freezer bag. If you decide to freeze them, do not thaw them out before cooking.
To cook them bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the gnocchi in it. They are done when they float to the surface.
In the meantime, heat the butter in a large saute pan. Let the butter brown. Add the sage and toss the cooked gnocchi in it. Serve with toasted hazelnuts and parmesan.