Harvest Gnocchi w/ Squash & Kale

Some recipes you know are going to be amazing before the fork ever reaches your mouth. You spot it online or in a cookbook or, in my case, the latest issue of The Food Network Magazine, and you think, “That’s going to be so good!” Well,I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t feel that way when I first saw this this Gnocchi w/ Butternut Squash & Kale. It looked good, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t figure it’d be anything special. I still went ahead and bookmarked it because it was surprisingly healthy and sang of Fall. Did I think it would “wow” me? Not really. Well, allow me to put my foot in my mouth because this dish wowed me six ways to Sunday.

This Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Kale sang a beautiful harmony of deliciousness. The note I really heard was “flavor.” So much flavor! I never would’ve expected it. The butternut squash’s slightly sweet taste spreads itself out onto the kale and the gnocchi while all three elements act as sponges for the beautiful butter and the dynamic vegetable broth. Right there, we’re talking flavor power. But it doesn’t stop. With every bite, fresh garlic sauteed in the butter says, “Hello, I’m garlic. I’m here and I’m awesome.” Illusive red pepper flakes hang out in the background, only to give you a kick in the butt at the end of every mouthful. Last but never least, salty parmesan lends a hand to bind all of the flavors together and add that cheesy bite you’ve got to have. It’s just the right amount of cheese, not overboard, but definitely present. With all of these delicious flavors working together, I went from “I’m sitting down to a nice, warm Fall dinner,” to “Hello, I’m awake and so are all of my tastebuds.”

This is a simple dish, but it’s incredible. It’s buttery, hearty, garlicky, cheesy, and it’s got flavors coming at you in all directions. You get a wonderful textural circus too with the kale that’s still got a bit of bite left in it, the gooey parmesan cheese, the tender butternut squash, the soft little gnocchis, and the crunch of  walnuts. Your mouth will be so delightfully entertained by this dish. It’s a wake-up call to your tastebuds.

Between the squash and the warm, comforting flavors, nothing says “Fall” quite like this dish. It’s hearty and delicious, the kind of food that feeds your soul. Plus, topping it with some extra cheese & a sprinkling of nuts then finishing it off in the broiler only makes this gnocchi creation even better. Can you say golden brown toasted deliciousness?

This is a vegetarian dish, and a kick butt one at that, but I hardly need to mention that. You won’t even notice. It’ doesn’t need the meat. I will say, though, that this is a good-for-you recipe. It’s relatively low-calorie and packing tons of nutrients between the squash and kale. This is one well-rounded meal.

So get yourself ready to serve up a bowl-full of Fall. This delicious yet simple meal is sure to become a staple in your Autumn dinner recipe collection!

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Butternut squash is a pain in the butt. There’s no simple way to tackle it. I suggest you get it out of the way, then putting together the rest of the dinner is a breeze!
  2. I didn’t measure the cheese. The cup below is only a recommendation, feel free to add more (I sure did).
  3. Don’t like nuts? Don’t add ’em!
  4. This meal comes together fairly quickly, so it’s great for a weeknight dinner!

Gnocchi With Squash and Kale

Recipe adapted from The Food Network Magazine



Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring, until slightly soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Add the vegetable/chicken broth to the skillet. When it starts to simmer, stir in the kale and cook until it wilts slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the gnocchi, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until the gnocchi are just tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in 1/2 cup parmesan and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan and walnuts; transfer to the broiler and cook until golden and bubbly, about 3 minutes.

Serve with extra nuts & cheese if desired.

Behold: fabulous Fall comfort food.

Posted in Casseroles, Dinner, Healthy, Pasta, The Smart Cookie Cook, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Colleen Bierstine