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October 31, 2010

Labor of Love

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Whiskey Cream Sauce.


Human beings are fairly predictable. We generally do things for others, for one of two reasons--to GIVE or to GET. It doesn't really matter what the action is; giving or getting is always the underlying motivation.

Sadly it's most common to give TO GET. If you watch people closely you can usually read their intentions. They are after title, promotion, acceptance, favors, money. Their smiles and efforts seem luring, but their agenda is purely selfish.

Yet if you don't lose hope, along the way, some will surprise you!   

As a parent, you get to watch this glorious development in your children. For the first several years, they ONLY give to get. They want instant gratification. When it isn't available...tantrum!

Then slowly, they learn to give...for the sake of giving. They offer a plucked garden flower, simply because they know it will make you happy. They mention you in their bedtime prayers--protective of mommy and daddy. They share candy or a silly band with a friend who doesn't have any. Beautiful.

Offering words, time, affection, a listening ear, even money, for the sole purpose of giving, is truly divine!  Sometimes it feels like a sacrifice in the process, but when you look back on it, and see the impact it has made on others, the reward is rich.

When you offer a gift to someone and receive no personal benefit, it restores faith in the recipient's heart!

Homemade gnocchi is this kind of gift. It is not quick. It is not (terribly) easy. It takes time, determination and patience. It is a labor of love.


These tiny melt-in-your-mouth pillows of heaven are a simple act of giving. Gnocchi shows anyone you serve them to, that they are special. They are worth your time and effort. Not because you want something from them--but because you love them!

I can't think of another pasta that offers such sublime flavor and delicate texture. Plus, the Whiskey Cream Sauce is spectacular in it's own right. Silky, robust--a perfect coating for the most luxurious of pastas!

Make this for someone you love, just because. (But give yourself ample time to prepare it!)

Sommer

The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving. ~Albert Einstein


Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Whiskey Cream Sauce

1 small butternut squash, about 1 lb.
½ cup Parmesan cheese
¾ tsp. nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger
1 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
2 eggs
2+ cups flour

3 Tb. butter
2 Tb. flour
2 shallots, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup bourbon
1/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Fresh thyme leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the squach in half. Remove the seeds and lay on a oiled, rimmed baking sheets. Roast the squash until soft—30-40 minutes.


Scoop the flesh of the squash out and place it in the food processor. Puree until completely smooth.


Mix the pureed squash with parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper and eggs. Then add the flour into the mixture and work together by hand. It will be very sticky.


Once smooth, flour a work surface and a large piece of parchment paper. Flour your hands and grab a handful of dough. Roll into a long strip, about ½ inch wide. Cut the strip into ½ pieces.


~This is the tricky part~ Place each piece in the palm of your hand (or on the cutting board) and gently roll with a fork to create ridges. Place each piece on the floured parchment paper and repeat with the rest of the dough.


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Boil half the gnocchi, then remove and repeat. With each batch, boil until all the gnocchi floats—about 5 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat another large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and flour, whisk until smooth.


Then add the shallots and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.


Then add the bourbon and chicken stock.


Whisk and raise heat. Bring the sauce to a boil. Allow the sauce to reduce down to a thin gravy-like consistency. Then lower the heat to medium-low and add the cream. Salt and pepper to taste—usually about 1 tsp. of salt.


Once the gnocchi are finished cooking, remove them with a skimmer and place them directly into the cream sauce. Stir to coat.


Serve the gnocchi warm and garnish with fresh thyme leaves! Serves 4.

*If the cream sauce thickens too much, add a little water from the gnocchi pot to thin it out!


...And the CSN $35 GIVEAWAY winner is: Alison, from One Meat One Veg!  

Butternut Squash Gnocchi With Whiskey Cream Sauce on Foodista

52 comments:

  1. This truly is a labour of love. I've made gnocchi, but not as often as I'd like to - it is pretty labour intensive. Never with squash though. The whiskey cream is stellar! Just such a beautiful combination of flavors :)

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  2. It is indeed a labour of love!! MMMMMMM,..Your pumpkin gnocchi look so delectable, my friend!

    That whiskey cream sauce looks amazing & ooh so appetizing too!

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  3. Sweet. Love the post and the meal. Some people never quite learn this lesson!

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  4. Wow. Those look wonderful. Gnocchi isn't a quick throw together meal, but it's always worth the work.

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  5. I've never made gnocchi. Even with the "warning" that it's not as easy as (you make it look) I think I'm up for it. The look delicious! Great post, and your theory, so true.
    Have a great day!

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  6. heading out to Sunflower Market to get a metric ton worth of squash! thanks!

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  7. These squash gnocchi indeed look perfect. I know what you mean by saying labor of love. They take time and effort to be made. You offerede something special to your family by making this dish from scratch.

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  8. I am not exaggerating it...this looks heavenly!I am bookmarking this to try!
    Angie

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  9. *bows to the master! This is unbelievable. So beautiful and I can imagine how wonderful it tasted! As usual, the photos are awesome.

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  10. Terrific seasonal gnocchi! And I'm loving the idea of the whiskey cream sauce!

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  11. A labor of love indeed Sommer! The whiskey cream is stellar and the butternut squash is perfect for the season!

    Such a lovely combination of flavors :)

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  12. I must confess I have never made gnocchi, but this recipe is a "family-pleaser", so I'm gonna try!

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  13. I am determined to try gnocchi one of these days! Mountain Man and I had high hopes for our butternut squash but instead of yummy pasta it became soup. ha

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  14. I've had pumpkin gnocchi, but never butternut squash. I completely agree that sometimes you must take the time to make a special meal like this to show them how much you care. There's nothing more satisfaying than a bunch of happy, full bellies :)

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  15. Wow! These are gorgeous! I made some butternut squash gnocchi recently, but they were part potato, part squash. I think I'll give these a try next.

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  16. What a special dish. Gnocchi are on my list to prep pretty soon, too. I love the combination with the whiskey sauce. Just beautiful. Thanks.

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  17. These sound decadent and delicious!

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  18. I have to try your whiskey sauce, seems wonderful...

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  19. wow this is a first class dish BRAVO

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  20. Awe, you're so right and so sweet, Sommer;-) I mean, about the getting and giving thing. And your gnocchi looks wonderful. That color is really pretty.
    I love making gnocchi, but it is a labor...of something (smile). Hmm, who can I invite over and force to make it with me...?!

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  21. That's cool! I make gnocchi differently but yours is much more attractive so I am going to take the lesson. I think your dish looks like the best comfort food and I love the idea of bourbon in the sauce.

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  22. This looks absolutely fantastic!

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  23. This is awesome and appreciate the effort u had put to make this lovely dish

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  24. This looks amazing! So rich and flavorful. You totally had me at bourbon!

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  25. Beautiful snaps for a beautiful dish! I can only imagine how tasty it was.

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  26. This is awesome! I am thus far a little scared of trying to make my own gnocchi but I think it would be worth the effort for this dish. Great recipe!

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  27. Oh Sommer - what a sweet post! And delicious. Love the sauce. Love the gnocchi - and they are not easy - mine always land like a rock! So Brava to you.

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  28. A labor of love indeed! I've never made gnocchi and will have to try one of these days. I like that you added the squash to it. Combined with the whiskey cream sauce, it sounds wonderful!

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  29. This is just beautiful, Sommer - and sounds absolutely amazing. I made semolina gnocchi a few months back and it was a bit of work, but completely worth it, as I am sure these are as well. The sauce sounds incredible! ( :

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  30. This sounds fantastic! I have never made my own gnocchi before but this post is definitely inspirational. Thanks for the gift of the recipe :)

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  31. I loved your words on giving and getting. Your homemade gnocchi and sauce looks so good, I keep going back and looking at the photos--I want to take a bite of my computer screen! I enjoy making gnocchi from scratch...the trickiest part for me is getting those nice lines with the fork. I still need some practice with that! Great post.

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  32. Wow, I am so impressed! Those look so delicious, and the amount of work you put into them! Just gorgeous.

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  33. You totally had me at Gnocchi. Looks amazing!!

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  34. superbbbbbbbbb recipe and yes truly a labour of love! loads of wishes to u n family!

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  35. Have made potato Gnocchis but this sounds interesting.

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  36. wow. fantastic recipe. thanks!

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  37. this looks super delicious! thank you for sharing this.

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  38. The step by step illustration is great. I've never made gnocchi before. It definitely looks like a meal whose prep should be shared with someone special and a glass or two of wine.

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  39. I looooooove butternut squash gnocchi, it's light and so yummy. The Whiskey sauce sounds like a great idea.

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  40. I enjoyed reading about your feelings on giving versus getting and how naturally children can evolve into givers by giving thoughtful and simple things. Now for the gnocchi, you're correct this dish involves labor but what a lovely and delicious outcome. Gorgeous pictures as usual:)

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  41. I absolutely adore this post! It is beautifully written and I agree with everything you said! Your gnocchi look incredible and the sauce is making me weak in the knees. I've never made gnocchi myself but I think I really need to attempt this and surprise my husband with a special dinner :o)

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  42. I have never made gnocchi before, but now I really want to! I'll have to try this out! http://beast-ro.blogspot.com/

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  43. fantastic, fantastic recipe, i love gnocci and it truly showers any recipent with affection, a meal this outstanding perfect for those you love, the cream sauce has me salivating, lol\\sweetlife

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  44. Woah, those look delicious. I've definitely never tried making my own gnocchi before, but you might have given me the courage to attempt it...

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  45. Oh yum this looks amazing. I am making butternut squash risotto tomorrow night but this looks terrific. I love making gnocchi - i did sweet potato last year. you got this perfect!

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  46. I've made them once and I agree, they are a labor of love. Yours are so much more complex than mine and I don't think I could even attempt them. They're gorgeous though.

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  47. You had me at whiskey cream sauce. But oh, good gnocchi, so hard to find. Yours looks wonderful!

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  48. I hope to one day try out my gnocchi making skills! You definitely had me at whiskey cream sauce! Putting this on my "to-do" list as we speak!

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  49. I'm planning on making this tonight- but I was wondering how many servings it makes?

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  50. Hey Elana~ Sorry to respond so late, I've been gone all day. It makes 4 good sized servings! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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I love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for taking the time. If you have a question, I'll get back to you ASAP!