Squash is a typical ingredient of Friuli, a region of North-Eastern Italy
Gnocchi, or dumplings, is one of the favourite entrees. This recipe calls for both, with a semolina twist.
800 gr. sweet yellow winter squash (or butternut squash)
1 onion, minced
150 gr. butter
a few sage leaves
80 gr. parmesan cheese, grated
200 gr. semolina
1 litre vegetable stock
finely ground breadcrumbs
Peel the squash, roughly cut in a few large pieces, place it in a pot, and cook it for a few minutes in a cup of boiling water. Drain the squash, but keep the cooking water for later use. Chop up the simmered squash into small dice and pan-fry it with the onion and a few tablespoons of butter. Mix and cook over low heat until most of the squash’s liquid evaporates.
Add the semolina, season with salt to taste, and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, mixing frequently, until it turns into a mash (you can help yourself with a fork or masher and even add some of the cooking water if need be).
Set aside the squash and semolina mash. Place the stock to boil in a deep pot. When the mash is cool, take out a tablespoon at a time and form some small dumplings (“macaròns”). Place the breadcrumbs in a low bowl and toss in the dumplings. Throw them in the boiling stock. When they rise to the surface, strain them with a slotted spoon and put them in a serving bowl.
Season the dumplings with the remaining, melted, butter, the sage and smother them with grated parmesan.