SquashLove: Acorn Squash Gnocchi, meet Candied Walnut Pesto

The first time I ate gnocchi, I fell in love.  I remember it as though it were yesterday.  Jeff and I had just begun dating and this was our first fancy dress up dinner date.  It was such a memorable evening that I’m still feeling the intoxicating effects today.

Bloghop Love

Our dinner date was at Cafe Vico, where upon arrival we were promptly greeted by chef and owner Marco Vico, who gently held my hand, kissed it and called me “Bella”, I remember blushing.  Marco lead us to a romantic cozy alcove, where we were served warm crusty bread with an herb and garlic infused olive oil, soon followed by a savory zuppa di porcini and crispy fried calamari.  Once the main course arrived in huge serving plates,  I immediately coddled my handmade gnocchi resting in a creamy pesto sauce, while Jeff  consumed chicken marsala set upon succulent layers of perfectly sauteed baby bella mushrooms.

Our dinner ended with a rich deep roast espresso and a dreamy fluffy tiramisu.  The dining experience left me reminiscing the evening’s tasty morsels… great food, excellent service, a beautiful setting and the finest of company… it was all very exquisite.  The magic continues today for both my deep love for Jeff and gnocchi.

Gnocchi Love

Why am I gushing about love?

Well, I’ll tell ya!

I’m part of this month’s blogHop, where the food blog community connects with other blogs to share recipes and spread the love.   This months bloghop is focusing on the wonderful Autumn harvest with the incredible lovable squash.

So for today…for this month’s bloghop we’re uniting in the name of #squashlove… Acorn Squash Gnocchi meet Candied Walnut Pesto

You are cordially invited to dinner…

Here’s what you’ll need

Squash Gnocchi

1 1/2 pounds acorn squash
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (additional for rolling out gnocchi)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
4 tablespoons butter
2 garlic gloves, minced
salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, finely grated for topping

Candied Walnut Pesto

1 cup candied walnuts
1 cup arugula
6 sage leaves
3/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic gloves
2 tablespoons of acorn squash ( I added squash to blend the flavors with my homemade gnocchi)

For the Gnocchi

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Cut the acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds. Using a 1 tablespoon of butter, dollop into the center of squash, place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and place in oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 6 hours or overnight.  Reserve 2 tablespoons for pesto. (make ahead).

Squash Love

In a small sauce pan, heat the remaining butter, add minced garlic and chopped fresh sage, cook until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Place on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Set aside until ready to use.

For the Pesto

In a food processor, combine arugula, sage leaves, squash, candied walnuts, olive oil, garlic cloves and blend until a rich thick paste has been reached.  Remove and place in airtight container, refrigerate until ready to use. (make ahead).

Candied Walnut Pesto

Preparing Gnocchi

Peel and puree the acorn squash, place in food processor, add the sauteed sage and garlic, mixing well. Add the eggs, salt and pepper, mix well. Add the flour, a little at a time, stirring to combine all the ingredients. The gnocchi should be soft but not sticky, if sticky add a tablespoon of flour at a time until a soft consistency is reached.

Mixing the Gnocchi

Transfer to a work surface and knead briefly until smooth. Keep your work surface, tools, hands and dough lightly floured as you work. Roll 1 portion of dough into a 1/2 inch thick rope and sprinkle lightly with flour. Using a knife, cut the rope into 1/2 inch pieces. Layer Gnocchi on a lightly floured parchment-lined baking tray. Finish making the remaining Gnocchi. Freeze remaining gnocchi in layers on wax or parchment-lined freezer tray. Gnocchi may be frozen for a month. Cook from freezer—do not thaw.

Rolling out the Gnocchi

In a large pot of boiling salted water, preparing in 2 batches, cook the gnocchi for 15 to 17 minutes or until gnocchi floats to the surface.

Acorn Squash Gnocchi with Candied Walnut Pesto

Drain the cooked gnocchi and add them to the pan with the candied walnut pesto. Toss gently to coat.  Serve warm and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  (Gnocchi recipe adapted from Mario Batali)

You’re more than welcome to join us by simply adding your recipe at the end of this bloghop!

Baker Street | Anuradha : @bakerstreet29
Bloc De Recetas | Salomé : @blocderecetas
Bon à croquer | Valerie : @valouth
Cafe Terra Blog | Terra : @cafeterrablog
Cake Duchess | Lora : @cakeduchess
Elephant Eats | Amy 
Food Wanderings | Shulie : @foodwanderings
Hobby and More | Richa : @betit19
Georgie Cakes | Georgie : @georgiecakes
Mike’s Baking | Mike : @mikesbaking
Mis Pensamientos | Junia : @juniakk
My Twisted Recipes | Dudut : @mytwistedrecipe
No One Like Crumbley Cookies | T.R : @TRCrumbley
Queens Notebook | Elizabeth : @mango_queen
Simply Reem | Reem : @simplyreem
Skip To Malou | Malou : @malou_nievera
Teaspoon Of Spice | Serena : @tspcurry
The Daily Palette | Annapet : @thedailypalette
The Professional Palette | Regan : @profpalate
The Spicy RD | EA : @thespicyrd
Vegan Miam | Rika : @veganmiam

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57 thoughts on “SquashLove: Acorn Squash Gnocchi, meet Candied Walnut Pesto

  1. Romantic dinner indeed, and I love gnocchi! I have made it once and I should make it again soon with squash!

    So happy to meet you through the Squash Blog Hop, and I am looking forward to your upcoming posts and tweets!

  2. I also have a squash gnocchi recipe, it sounds definitely delicious! I really have to try it, but I don’t know why, I’m kinda afraid of making pasta, I’m afraid it doesn’t work as I’d like… But well, until I don’t try I won’t know! Ain’t I right? ahah

  3. Hi Valerie, You have to try at least once. I was nervous too at first, but the moment I began working with the dough I realized how much fun I was having, regardless of how it tasted. But, I’m happy it tasted really good 😉 I’m excited about trying other recipes.

  4. Heehee Georgie, we thought alike, gnocchi. Your gnocchi pillows look so beautiful. I haven’t made them in years so first batch was trial and error. They are finicky little treats but so worth it. Love your version and cohosting this squashlove with you and the gang is so much fun!

    1. Shulie, I’m so glad I get to be a part of bloghop with you & the bloghop gang. It is funny, we made similar items – I was wondering if anyone else would try gnocchi. I’m making Lora’s gnocchi next with your butternut puree!

    1. Thank you, so glad to be a part. I heart all my new friends within love bloghop. Do try it with candied walnuts, be warned it’s super sweet so you’ll want a savory to compliment it.

  5. I love gnocchi ( at least in my pre gluten free days) and your recipe looks fabulous! I’d love to try making a gluten-free version. Love the pesto with candied walnuts too! You have a lovely blog-happy to meet through #squashlove 🙂

  6. Nice to meet you too! I know it’s gnocchi is good stuff. I’m sure you can tweak a recipe to meet a GF needs, and there’s got to be a tried and true one available. At least the pesto, you can eat, every day of you like 😉

  7. Hi Georgie,

    It’s very nice to see a gnocchi dish because while abroad in Berlin, I almost ate gnocchi everyday with different sauces. Gnocchi is like my guilty pleasure for anything Italian! But with acorn squash sounds really lovely! Thanks for bringing me memories of gnocchi!

    Squash-love for ya!

    Rika
    http://www.twitter.com/veganmiam

    1. Hi Rika, It’s funny how I ate this later in life. My mother ate this as a child often, so it really never made it to our table. I also think with 5 kids in our family, everything was about convenience. It’s worth a splurge once in a while. Nice meeting and thanks for visiting.

  8. i love the idea of candied walnut pesto.. i am not much of a gnocchi eater or a home made pasta person:) but i will try the pesto for sure ..its so intriguing with all those flavors and a bit of squash too.!

    1. I know what you mean, gnocchi is a comfort food, I usually splurge on occasionally. The pesto I have to concur is delicious. I just spread the very last bit of it onto my panini! Boo!

  9. I think we should set up my pumpkin gnocchi with your acorn squash gnocchi and trade sauces lol Love the candied walnuts in the pesto – absolutely brilliant – bookmarking this! Yes, #squashlove is awesome, and so glad to meet you too!

    1. Ha ha ha, Lisa your funny! They are smitten by one another, I bet they taste great together. Glad I have a new gnocchi friend. I’m in love with the candies walnut pesto, so good.

  10. Oh my word! How much do I love the idea of Candied Walnut Pesto? I would have never thought to action a combination like that. Real question: How do you avoid eating all of it before it goes onto the gnocchi?

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