Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #231: Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

by April Rose, Dietetic Intern

Photo credit: Meng He/Flickr

This fun and easy recipe is sure to impress your fall guests! You’ll need some counter space and flour for rolling the gnocchi, a fork to make decorative grooves (important: these grooves help grab the sauce!), and the willingness to put a little time in on the front end, but it’s well worth it.

These gnocchi cook quickly and can be simply dressed in a quick pan sauce, as described below. You can also make the gnocchi ahead of time and refrigerate for a day or two, or freeze for longer storage. Enjoy this fun and flavorful recipe with a loved one or lots of loved ones, or make extra for leftovers!

Squash is rich in the beta-carotene family of nutrients, which are powerful antioxidants that can help support the immune system, metabolism and healthy vision. Squash is a great source of dietary fiber, which promotes fullness and satiety, as well as digestive regularity.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Adapted from an Epicurious recipe

(Serves: 6)


  • One 1-lb. butternut squash
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp. fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • Small pinch crushed cloves


To make the gnocchi:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cut squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds, drizzle and rub lightly with olive oil, and roast approx. 1.5 hours until tender.
  3. Toward the end of the squash cooking time, boil water and cook russet potato until tender, about 20 minutes. While still warm, mash thoroughly or place potato through potato ricer. Let cool completely.
  4. When the squash is finished cooking and has cooled enough to handle (but is not cold), scrape out its flesh and place in a bowl or food processor. Mash or process until smooth, then transfer to a saucepan over medium heat until juice evaporates and squash puree thickens.
  5. Mix 1 cup squash, 2 cups potato mash, ½ cup parmesan cheese, egg, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well, adding flour a little at a time. Knead mixture gently while adding flour, until dough holds together and is almost smooth. If dough is sticky, add more flour as needed, approx. 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn dough out on floured work surface, and divide in to 8 equal pieces.
  6. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, and dust lightly with flour. Working with one section at a time, roll out dough in a rope shape to about ½-inch thickness. Cut rope crosswise into ¾-inch pieces. Take each gnocchi piece and, with a fork dipped in flour, press and slightly roll the dough piece along the tines of the fork to create ridges on about ½-¾ of the dough piece. Place ridged gnocchi piece on baking sheet and, once filled, chill in refrigerator for up to 6 hours before use. Freeze at this point if saving for later use.
  7. Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove and salt lightly. In two or more batches (do not crowd the pot), boil gnocchi for 15-17 minutes, cooking them a little while longer after they float to the surface.
  8. Dress with the sauce below and serve immediately.

For the sauce:

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, 3-4 minutes. Add chopped sage and a pinch of crushed clove and stir for 1 minute
  2. Add gnocchi and cook until heated through and coated with butter, 5-7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place one serving of buttered gnocchi on a plate and top with a sprinkle of fresh parmesan cheese and a fried sage leaf for garnish. Note: To make fried sage leaves, pan fry the full leaves in butter just before serving for a stunning garnish atop the gnocchi.

Healthful substitutions:

  • Use ¾ stick of butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil when making the sauce instead of all butter.
  • Do not salt the water when boiling or cooking the potato or gnocchi.
  • Try using a fresh sage leaf for garnish in lieu of pan frying the whole leaf – both will be beautiful and impressive.
  • Substitute 1 large (or two medium) sweet potatoes in place of the russet potato. Be ready with additional flour in case more is needed to pull the dough together.

Nutritional Information (per serving, with sauce):

Calories: 449 calories, Total Fat: 23 g (saturated fat 13 g), Carbohydrates: 50 g, Sodium: 635 mg, Fiber: 4 g, Cholesterol: 81 mg, Protein: 12 g.

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