I love to create contrasts in the foods I serve my friends and family. Pairing creamy with crunchy, or sweet with savory is what makes food interesting and enjoyable. Even the lowly scoop of vanilla ice cream is elevated (no pun intended) when placed atop a crisp waffle cone.
Last evening I experimented on my family and found a serendipitous combination of sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy that they raved about.
Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Squash and Gorgonzola
1 small butternut squash
1 tablespoon butter
1 500-gram (17.6 oz.) pkg. potato gnocchi
1 1/4 cups half and half
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
3 tablespoons hazelnuts, crushed
grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Peel, seed, and dice (about 1/2-inch) squash--enough to make about 2 cups. Heat butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender and well browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same saute pan, bring the half and half to a simmer over low heat. Add the Gorgonzola and stir until the cheese begins to melt.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil over medium-high heat. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and add to the half and half/Gorgonzola mixture in the saute pan. Add the cooked diced squash and stir gently until all of the gnocchi and squash are coated with sauce and are heated through.
Garnish with hazelnuts and Parmesan cheese. (Makes 4 or 5 generous servings)