Sweet potato and butternut squash are favourite ingredients in Italian cooking. We love the way these autumn vegetables add a touch of sweetness to savoury dishes, not to mention their amazing colour! The recipes below, developed by our Michael-Angelo’s chefs, would be a fun weekend project. Turn on some Italian music, pour yourself a glass of wine and challenge yourself with these mouthwatering seasonal dishes. Serve simply with dressed greens and Italian bread!
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Caramelized Shallots and Crispy Sage
2- 8 oz Sweet Potatoes
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 bunch fresh sage, remove stem.
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 Shallots, thinly sliced
Shavings of parmesan to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake sweet potatoes for 30 minutes, or until soft to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to work with, remove the peels, and mash them, or press them through a ricer into a large bowl. Blend in the garlic, salt, nutmeg, and egg. Mix in the flour a little at a time until you have a soft dough. Use more or less flour as needed.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While you wait for the water make, the gnocchi. On a floured surface, roll the dough out in several long snakes, and cut into 1-inch sections. Drop the pieces into the boiling water, and allow them to cook until they float to the surface. Remove the floating pieces with a slotted spoon, set aside.
In a side sauce pan, melt butter and caramelize shallots until they become soft and slightly brown.
In another pan heat the vegetable oil and gently place whole leaves of sage in the oil. Slightly simmer until the edges become slightly browned, gently remove and place on paper towel to remove excess oil.
To assemble the dish, melt butter in a saucepan. Add the boiled gnocchi and sauté until the outside of the gnocchi becomes slightly browned. Add the shallots to the pan and heat throughout, transfer to a serving plate. Top with crispy sage and shaved parmesan.
Butternut Squash Risotto
2 cups cubed butternut squash
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock (hot)
1/4 cup grated parmesan reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste
Place squash cubes into a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water, cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow to steam until the squash is tender (10 to 15 minutes), then drain, and mash in a bowl with a fork.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir for 2 minutes until the onion begins to soften, then stir in the rice. Continue cooking and stirring until the rice is glossy from the butter, and the onion begins to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes more.
Pour in the white wine; cook, stirring constantly, until it has evaporated. Stir in the mashed squash and 1/3 of the hot chicken stock; reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir until the chicken stock has been absorbed by the rice, 5 to 7 minutes. Add half of the remaining chicken stock, and continue stirring until it has been absorbed. Finally, pour in the remaining stock, and continue stirring until the risotto is creamy. Finish by stirring in the parmesan cheese, and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.