Rich and creamy, delicate and subtly sweet, our Potato Gnocchi with Butternut Squash Cream sauce is a unique and beautiful take on a typical creamy pasta dish.
As you know, I’m not the main cook in our house but every once in a while I get inspired to get in the kitchen and cook without Philip. I remember the first time I cooked for Philip, chicken thighs wrapped in bacon with a maple glaze. I’ll never forget his reaction either — his eyes lit up and he was in disbelief that I had made something so incredible — he even checked the trash for takeout containers!
My recipes tend to have a quick, pre-made element and usually are cheesy or creamy — in this case, I grabbed fresh gnocchi from the grocery store and made a light yet rich cream sauce using butternut squash and a splash of cream, and it was divine!
Our favourite part about this recipe is that it is elegant enough to serve for date night or special occasions, but simple and quick enough to eat as a weeknight dinner.
How to Make Our Gnocchi with Butternut Squash Cream Sauce
Ingredients You'll Need
We kept it simple for this winter gnocchi - just a few ingredients is all you need: Butter, onions, garlic, butternut squash, cream, parmesan, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Start the Pasta Water
One key to great pasta is to ensure the water is salted well enough. It will take on some of the salty flavour, but only slightly so use a heavy hand. I like to use about 1 tablespoon of salt for about 8 cups of water.
Make the Butternut Squash Cream Sauce
Turning butternut squash into a cream sauce is actually much simpler than it sounds. Start by melting some butter in a large saucepan and cook a diced shallot for about 2 minutes, or until softened.
Add about 2 ½ cups of cubed butternut squash, season with salt and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the edges begin to soften. To this add a clove of crushed garlic then pour in a cup of heavy cream. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes, cover and lower the heat to simmer.
Cook until the squash is tender, then blend with an immersion blender or food processor. Return to the pot and keep warm until the gnocchi is cooked.
Cook the Gnocchi
One of the things we love about gnocchi is just hoow quickly it cooks and the fact that it tells you once it's done without having to guess. Once your salted water is boiling, simply add the gnocchi, give it a quick stir and wait for it to float to the top. Depending on the amount you are cooking, it generally takes about 3 to 5 minutes to cook through.
Finish, Garnish, and Serve
Once your gnocchi is cooked, drain all the water out and add the gnocchi directly to the butternut squash cream sauce. Add as handful of parm and gently toss to combine.
For serving, we like to keep it simple with just a light sprinkling of additional parm and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper.
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Our Favourite Essential Cooking Tools
- Duralex Glass Bowls
- All-Clad Measuring Cups and Spoons
- John Boos Cutting Board
- Global Chef's Knife Set
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Wide-Mouth Mason Jar Lids
Potato Gnocchi with Butternut Squash Cream Sauce
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 shallot diced
- 1 small butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 lbs fresh gnocchi
- ½ cup grated parmesan plus additional for serving
- salt and pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, melt the butter, then add the shallots. Cook for 2 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the butternut squash, season with salt, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the edges are softened. Toss in the garlic, red pepper flakes and pour in the cream. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the squash is fork-tender.
- Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend the sauce until completely smooth and creamy. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as desired. Set on low heat to keep warm until the gnocchi is cooked.
- Once the sauce is ready and pasta water is boiling, add the gnocchi and give it a quick stir. Cook as directed on the package, or until they are tender and float to the top of the water. Drain and add the gnocchi directly to the butternut squash cream sauce.
- Sprinkle parmesan over the gnocchi and gently toss until the sauce is evenly distributed. Serve in your favourite pasta bowl with additional parm and a few cracks of fresh ground pepper.
- Butternut squash can be substituted with sweet potato or acorn squash
- Refer to packaging for cooking time of gnocchi