Butternut Squash Gnudi with Kale, Parmesan, and Pepitas
Why This Recipe Works
by Tim Chin
Gnudi are gnocchi-like dumplings that are traditionally made with strained ricotta and nothing more than a light dusting of semolina flour—essentially a ravioli filling minus the pasta. The result is something much less dense than gnocchi—more cloud-like and ethereal. In this version, we use butternut squash instead of ricotta to create the ultimate fall dish. While researching for this recipe, we found this post on Ideas in Food, and we got to tinkering.
The challenge in trying to make dumplings out of squash is getting them to hold together without diluting the squash flavor with large quantities of binders such as wheat flour and eggs. In this recipe, we use very small amounts of tapioca starch and egg white powder (the extra water in fresh egg whites requires more tapioca starch, which means less squash flavor) to effectively bind water and form a stable but supertender gel. The dough is too delicate to knead and roll out, so instead we gently bake it and then cut the gnudi by hand. These creamy, light-as-air dumplings are 93 percent squash, so that’s all you taste. The gnudi can be turned into a satisfying dish with wilted kale, Parmesan, and pumpkin seeds in less than 10 minutes.