In true weeknight fashion, I used those wonderful peeled butternut squash halves they sell shrinkwrapped (though I can manage to cut it up myself, I find the pieces are often mushy), and prepared gnocchi. I appreciate that vacuum sealed gnocchi can't approach tender, hand-made little dumplings in texture or flavor. But compromises must sometimes be made, and after some experimentation I have found a brand and a preparation that works for me.
For the squash:
- 1/2 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks
- 1/8 cup green olive oil
- 1 tbl coarse sea salt
- 1 tbl fresh cracked pepper
- 6 bay leaves, roughly crumpled
Preheat the oven to 350F. Toss all ingredients together on a sheet pan, and roast until soft and a more than a little bit brown, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the gnocchi:
- 1 lb prepared gnocchi
- 4 tbl butter
- 2 tbl olive oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, toss in gnocchi and stir gently. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter and allow to continue cooking until thoroughly browned. By then the gnocchi should be done, they will have risen to the surface of the water. Skim them off and drain, shaking off excess water. Add the gnocchi and the olive oil to the butter and allow the gnocchi to develop a bit of brown crust, stirring occasionally.
To assemble the meal:
- 4 oz hard goat gouda
Shave the goat gouda (I use my vegetable peeler) into large but thin slices. Loosely toss the gnocchi and the squash, being careful not to mash the squash, and spoon out onto plates. Cover each portion lavishly with cheese.