Hi Friends!! I have been in Japan officially for a year and a half. Surrounded by all of these new foods somehow I’ve missed out on kabocha squash. Until last night. Dinner was delicious. From what I can tell, kabocha is becoming more widely available in the States as well. Bonus for everyone back home!
Kobochas are an Asian pumpkin that’s a little sweeter than an American pumpkin. The texture is different too, a little bit between a sweet potato and a pumpkin. It’s the perfect base for gnocchi. To top it all off I used a lightened up Gorgonzola sauce. I have to thank my friend Jerry for the idea, he is always trying out local Japanese ingredients and inspiring me. I don’t know that I’ll ever catch up to his fondness for pork belly fat or corn soup but he’s a great photographer and culinary friend to have.
I know spring is just around the corner, but it’s winter still and this is a winter squash you don’t want to miss until next year.
- 15 ounces (about 1 ¾ cups) kabocha squash puree (about ½ the kabocha, roasted)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (you might need a bit more depending on the thickness of your puree)
- fresh sage leaves (optional)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cup fat free milk
- ¼ cup (2ounces) ⅓-less fat cream cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓-½ cup Gorgonzola crumbles
- 2 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
- fresh ground pepper
- ****You will need to roast about ⅓ to ½ a kabocha squash to obtain 15 ounces.
- To make the kabocha puree preheat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper. If using sage leaves, roll them inside the kabocha and place it open side down onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for about 60 minutes until tender. Remove from oven and cool.
- Scrape out kabocha flesh into a large bowl and mush into a puree. Measure 15 ounces or approximately 1¾ cups puree and in a large bowl combine with 2 cups whole wheat flour and ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Stir together and knead in bowl, it may need a little extra flour if it does not come together into a nice mass. Add 2-4 tablespoons extra whole wheat flour as needed and continue to knead until it comes together, should just be a couple minutes.
- Divide into four pieces and roll into tubes. If you have a gnocchi roller they are extremely helpful, just break off a chunk about 2 tsp worth and roll on gnocchi roller. If you do not, simply cut pieces into chunks and roll on tines of fork if you desire the traditional gnocchi marks.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (just a pinch of salt).
- In the meantime, prepare sauce, In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add minced garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 minute, stirring constantly, you may need to lower temperature if garlic starts to get more than slightly browned. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Gradually add milk, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in cream cheese and salt. Cook 3-5 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly.
- Add gnocchi to boiling water, allow them to cook for a few minutes, you will know they are done when they float. Remove and place in bowl. Add sauce and stir to combine. Serve and top with gorgonzola, walnuts, and fresh pepper.