Total Calories: 351
1 Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Oil a baking pan just large enough to hold the squash. With a large heavy chef's knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and fibers. Place the squash cut-side down in the pan. Bake until the squash is tender when pierced in the thickest part with a small sharp knife, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. Scrape off the skin. Cut the squash into chunks and pass it through a food mill or puree it in the blender. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of squash.
2 Dust two large baking sheets with flour. In a large bowl, stir together the squash, 1 teaspoon salt, and a big pinch of nutmeg. Stir well. Stir in one cup of the flour just until blended. The dough will be stiff.
3 Scrape the squash onto a floured surface. Knead briefly, adding just as much of the flour as necessary to make a soft dough. It should be slightly sticky. Add just enough flour so that the gnocchi will hold their shape when cooked but not so much that they become heavy.
4 Set the dough aside for a moment. Scrape the board to remove any dough scraps. Wash and dry your hands, then dust them with flour.
5 Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Keeping the remaining dough covered, roll one piece into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the rope into 1/2-inch nuggets.
6 To shape the dough, hold a fork in one hand with the tines pointed down. With the thumb of the other hand, roll each piece of dough over the back of the tines, pressing lightly to make ridges on one side and an indentation from your finger on the other. Let the gnocchi drop onto the prepared pans. The pieces should not touch. Repeat with the remaining dough.
7 Refrigerate the gnocchi until ready to cook. (Gnocchi can also be frozen. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for one hour or until firm. Put the gnocchi in a large heavy-duty plastic bag. Freeze up to one month. Do not thaw before cooking.)
8 Have ready a heated shallow serving bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Pour half the butter into the bowl.
9 To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to taste. Lower the heat so that the water boils gently. Drop the gnocchi into the water a few pieces at a time. Cook until about 30 seconds after the gnocchi rise to the surface. Skim the gnocchi from the pot with a slotted spoon, draining the pieces well. Transfer to the serving bowl. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Pour on the remaining butter.
10 Toss the gnocchi gently. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve hot.
From "1,000 Italian Recipes." Copyright 2004 by Michele Scicolone. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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