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Squash Cheese GNUDI and Rockefeller center


Simultaneously a savoury and sweet dish is derived from adding squash to cheeses
as eggs, spices and lightly sifted flour render delectable rustic bites.


Lately, I was fortunate enough to zigzag my way through the iconic sites of New York city.

Between 48th and 51st streets, Midtown Manhattan, I became quickly exhilarated as…
I sensed that around the corner I was to finally observe the Rockefeller center up close.

My expectations were met and surpassed with the bonus of Autumn and Winter decor.



This seasonal ice rink welcomes all nations to a very happy place.
So blissful I was that I seemed to quickly forget how sore my feet had become at this point. 
I couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was that turned me into such a jolly person.
Certainly having Hubby with me to enjoy this experience made it a memorable indeed.




There was so much going on at once.  
The Christmas decorations had just been put up at Saks Fifth avenue and provided...
a beautiful backdrop to the center aisle full of Autumn embellishments.




The skating rink was awash of bright, lovely flags waving an inviting open door policy to all.
The only one important item missing was the gigantic, iconic Christmas tree...not there yet.
Although, this would have made this trip perfect...it only gave me one more reason to come back.



With all the pumpkins and squash abound…
how could I not think of making a few recipes integrating them once back in my kitchen.




Therefore, without further ado, here's my latest creation based on the Italian Gnudi.

Note: Gnudi (cheese type dumplings) just means to replace the regular 'Russet' type potato used in Gnocchi by the Ricotta (or similar textured) cheese.  Regular Gnocchi (potato dumplings) do not usually have a cheese component in its ingredients.




Gnudi (Nudi) Squash Cheese rustic bites

Yields about 48 rustic ping pong size portions:
serves 4 main meals or 8 reasonable entrees
INGREDIENTS:
(Metric / American measures)

. 300g (10.5 oz.) full fat Ricotta cheese *
. 340g (12oz./ 1-1/2 cups) roasted Squash,** mashed
. 1 xLarge egg
. 1.25ml (1/4 tsp.) sea salt
. 1.25ml (1/4 tsp.) granulated garlic powder
. pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
. 50g (3/4/ cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
. 270g to 300g (2 1/4 to 2-1/2 cups) '00' flour ***
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. 15ml (1 Tbsp.) sea salt for the boiling water
. garnish: extra Parmesan for serving



Some ingredient substitutions:

* Variation for soft cheese substitute:
Cottage cheese (full fat): to render a final weight of (300g /10.5oz.) you'll need (400g /14oz.) of Cottage cheese to start with.  Drain the cheese in a lined cotton cheese cloth sieve for at least 12 hours in order to extract the excess moisture.   Also, it's best to either mash it or puree in a blender.
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** This recipe used one medium butternut squash, cut in half, scooped out the seeds and roasted cut side down.  Placed them on a baking sheet with some olive oil brushed on the cut sides.  Roast for about 30 minutes at 375F/190C/Gas4.  Position the rack on the 2nd level from the bottom.
Variation for Squash substitute:
Sweet Potato: Use two small size potatoes.  Roast them whole, not forgetting to poke them first before roasting in a pre-heated 375F/190C/Gas4 oven.  Position the rack on the 2nd level from the bottom.
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*** A '00' flour can be found in many grocery stores, specifically in the Italian section.  If not, a lighter flour such as 'cake' flour can be a good substitute.






PREPARATION:

1. In a medium bowl, mix ALL the ingredients except for the flour at first.
2. Then, sift  in an initial generous portion of the flour while mixing with a strong, Silicone spatula.  Note: If the mix is still too moist and way too sticky, add in the remaining flour up until the maximum mentioned.


Cooking:
3. Fill a large pot three quarters of the way with water and bring it to a boil, adding the salt last.
4. Then, while the water is boiling, either use a mini ice-cream scoop to portion out rustic style balls or simply use two spoons to make small ping pong ball sizes.  Plop them in the water as quickly as you can make them. 
5. The ones that are almost cooked first will float to the top when they are ready (about 3 minutes).  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes for all to be properly cooked.
6. Remove them with the aid of a slotted spoon into a serving bowl.  Mix in a warm or cold sauce of choice.  Serve with a generous garnish of Parmesan cheese.
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Other sauce and accompaniment options:

1- simple:  generous drizzle of quality e.v.olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese.
2- Use any Pesto or Tomato sauce of choice and grated Parmesan cheese.
3. Gorgonzola melts well with hot Gnudi and other greens of choice added to the dish as well as a drizzle of finishing olive oil.
4. Saute the cooked Gnudi into a little butter and olive oil until lightly caramelized.  Can also be served together with some added greens of choice.  Season to taste.
5. Into some heated butter, saute some fresh Sage leaves and immediately add the cooked Gnudi until lightly caramelized.  Season to taste.








Although, we felt that Manhattan was squeezed, loud and extremely occupied, what an amazing time we had in this little part of the world.  Having been there over 30 years ago, I certainly felt that I was not going to have much more time pass by before planning another getaway.  There was so much more to see and unfortunately, so little time.

Since, I've been back, I admit on having gone a little squash overload, therefore, for now, this recipe will be the last I share until next year…I promise ;o)

Please enjoy the festivities to come and maybe, you will be inspired to try a squash recipe of your own.  Why not start with this one and let me know how it goes.

Flavourful wishes,
Foodessa

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.




Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.