I invented this dish a couple of weeks ago for a good friend's birthday celebration. Because I made the gnocchi the "easy way" (stay tuned for details) it's neither uniform nor particularly pretty. But it tasted really good!
The recipe doesn't have exact measurements for some things, 'cause I didn't want to hold up the celebration by trying to pin them down. But hopefully it will be easy in enough to follow nevertheless.
Roasted Squash Gnocchi with Chard and Blue Cheese
1 medium squash, I prefer buttercup
a bunch of flour
2 medium shallots
2 large bunches swiss chard
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
At least 1/2 pound chopped or crumbled blue cheese. I used Jasper Hill Farm's Bailey Hazen Blue
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and reserve (so you can cook them and eat them as a snack later), and place the halves cut side down in an oiled pan. Roast until the squash starts to collapse when you poke it, it should be soft enough that you can easily scoop out the flesh.
While the squash is roasting: Peel and mince the shallots. Then wash the chard and slice it into ribbons. If you'd prefer not to use the stems in this dish, you can save them for another use. Sweat the shallots in a bit of butter or olive oil, when they're translucent, add the chard and let it wilt. Reserve.
Now the blue cheese sauce. Put the 2 T. flour in a pan (no oil) and heat over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring constantly. You will smell a nice toasty aroma as it heats. Drop in the butter (it'll sizzle) and quickly whisk the butter and flour together. Slowly drizzle in the milk (if you don't mind using an extra pot, it's best for the milk to be hot, but it'll still work if it's not), whisking constantly, until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Let simmer until thickened. Stir in blue cheese and remove from heat.
Put the shallot chard mixture in a 9 X 13 baking dish and add the sauce. Stir.
When the squash is done, remove from the oven and carefully scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard the shell. Allow to cool until is is comfortable to touch. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then, with a fork, blend in two eggs. Stir in two cups flour. Then, add 1/2 cup flour at a time until you've formed a smooth and elastic dough.
Put a big pot of water on to boil.
To make gnocchi the easy way, grab a chunk of dough and roll it between your palms to form a long "worm" (like playing with Play-Doh). Place this on a floured cutting board and chop it into bite-sized pieces with a chef knife. Take the bits, make sure they're coated in flour, and lay them in a single layer on any surface that you won't need for a few minutes: a sheet pan, cutting board, etc. Continue until all the dough is gone.
Salt the boiling water and drop in the gnocchi a few at a time. You'll need to do a few batches. Each batch should take around 5 minutes to cook, and the gnocchi will rise to the top when nearly done. Skim them out with a skimmer, add them to the pan with the veggies and sauce, and stir to coat. Let the water come back to a boil and add the next batch.
When all the gnocchi are done or the pan is nearly full, make sure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and put the pan in the oven. If there are leftover gnocchi, toss them with oil and save for another time. Let cook until hot and bubbly. Serve.
Whew...that was more complicated than I expected. It took me three days to write this post! By the way, if you make this, use your own discretion during most steps. If medium heat on your stove will make the sauce boil instead of simmer, use medium low instead. You get the idea.