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Gnocchi à l’Alsacienne

I was looking for my monthly (well I try) ñoquis del 29 recipe and found Thomas Keller’s gnocchi à l’Alsacienne from Bouchon.  I’m always drawn to Keller recipes when I’m getting ready for a long run.  For last winter’s NYC half marathon it was ad hoc at home’s farro and black rice with roasted autumn squash and this time it was his gnocchi with butternut squash and mushrooms before next week’s full marathon, though both involve a lot of rotating pans and squash cubing just when I’m supposed to be resting up and tapering down.
Still, it was perfect for October and the reason I bought an all neck, 2 1/2-pound butternut squash last week (though I didn’t know it at the time).  Reading it through I was torn between the urge to keep it simple and fast – brown butter, roasted squash, sauteed mushrooms, quick toss – and my inclination to be methodical as the recipe directed.  Erring on the side of Keller, I realized why I’d been so drawn to this kind of deliberate cooking in the first place.  There was a lot of peeling, chopping, sauteeing but no effort was lost in the final dish.  I could see how similar it was to my marathon training.  Months of tempo runs, long runs, recovery runs, cross training, hydrating, tapering just to cross the finish line – the final 26.2 miles no more important than the hundreds of miles that came before them.  Good luck to everyone and see you out there!
Gnocchi à l’Alsacienne/Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms
Adapted, barely, from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon found on Gourmet, October 2004.
For the squash
One 2 1/2- to 3-pound butternut squash (one with a long neck)
Canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 small sage leaves
For the mushrooms:
12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned
Canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced thyme
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 recipe Herb Gnocchi , thawed if frozen
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1/2 lemon

For the squash:
Cut off and discard the stem end of the squash, then cut off the neck (reserve bulb for another use).  Peel deep enough to reach the bright orange flesh of the squash.  Cut it lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices then cut the slices into 1/2-inch dice. (You need about 3 cups diced squash.) If you have less than 3 cups, peel the bulb of the squash, cut it in half, and scrape out the seeds.  Trim and cut as much of the bulb as you need into 1/2-inch dice. Reserve the remaining squash for another use.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Heat a thin film of canola oil over medium heat in a skillet large enough to hold the squash in a single layer (or cook the squash in two batches). When the oil is hot, add the butter and brown it lightly. Add the squash, salt and pepper to taste, and the sage leaves. Cook, stirring the pieces to brown them on all sides until tender, about 4 to 6 minutes.  Drain the squash on one end of the paper towel–lined baking sheet and set aside the sage leaves for the garnish. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and set aside.

For the mushrooms:
Trim away the tough stems and cut the caps into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Heat a thin film of canola oil in the same skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the mushrooms and salt and sauté for about a minute. The mushrooms will absorb the oil and should not weep any liquid. Add the butter, shallots, thyme, and pepper, then toss and sauté until the mushrooms are thoroughly cooked, 3 to 4 minutes total. Drain the mushrooms on the paper towel–lined baking sheet.

The gnocchi should be cooked in two skillets: Wipe out the mushroom skillet with paper towels and add a light coating of olive oil to it and to a second large skillet.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to each skillet. When the butter has browned, divide the gnocchi between the two skillets and season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the gnocchi have begun to brown, shake and rotate the skillets, tossing the gnocchi so that they brown and crisp on all sides, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the squash, mushrooms, and chives and heat just through. Spoon the gnocchi and vegetables onto serving plates and return one skillet to high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cook until it is a rich brown, then quickly add the parsley to crackle for a few seconds. Standing back—the butter will spatter—add a squeeze of lemon half. Spoon the brown butter and herbs over the gnocchi and around the plates. Garnish with the reserved sage leaves.

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From: Ñoquis del 29, Main Course, Recipes, Vegetarian
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ana – this looks AMAZING!!! When am I going to get the dinner invite?

    Buena Suerte on Sunday – I’ll be out there cheering you on :)

    2 November 2010

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