There is something very unflappably charming about butternut squash gnocchi. If served right, these are not just a treat for our taste buds but a sight to behold as well. Originated in Northern Italy, butternut gnocchi makes for a hearty meal, regardless of whether you sauté them with seasonal veggies or dress ‘em up in a piquant tomato sauce.
However, if it’s an adventure you seek, it’s time you introduce some bourbon sauce into the mix. The subtle, sweet notes of rich, creamy bourbon sauce cleverly hides itself within the little flared chinks of gnocchi to deliver a distinct flavor with each bite.
Start off by cutting the butternut squash into half. Remove all the seeds and place it on a rimmed and oiled baking sheet. Now heat the oven to almost 450oF and slowly roast the squash for about 30 to 40 minutes. Once done, scoop the flesh out of the squash and mash it in a food processor till it smoothens. Now, blend the mash with nutmeg, salt, eggs, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Add flour to the mixture and slowly whip into a sticky dough. Once this is smooth, place on a parchment paper and roll into a ½ inch wide long rope, and cut the stretched dough further into ½ inch pieces. Make sure your hands are floured when you pick and press each of these dumplings with a fork to form crannies. Place them on a floured parchment paper, once done.
Boil a large pot of salted water and place these dumplings (preferably in batches) for almost 5 minutes, until they start floating. In the meantime, start heating a skillet and add 2 tbsp. of flour along with butter. Whisk the mixture slowly until it smoothens up; add garlic and shallot thereafter. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Once done, slowly add the chicken stock and bourbon to the mixture; increase the heat and start whipping until the sauce starts boiling. Decrease the heat and slowly decant the cream into the sauce. Season with pepper and salt, and keep it aside.
By the time, the gnocchi is done, slowly remove them with the help of a skimmer and dip them in the cream sauce. Stir slowly to coat. Garnish the platter with fresh thyme leaves and serve.
The French are ever so elegant in their ways.
We don’t really need an occasion to go out to our favorite joint and order a good steak.