Justine says: “These are delicious little things: they’re not the sort of gnocchi you pop into hot water to boil; rather they are fried in a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. The mixture can be made ahead of time (in fact it benefits from “sitting” for a while, if truth be told) but what you must ensure is that the butternut, after steaming, is drained well and made as “dry” as possible before you put the butternut through the ricer.
I use a combination of brown rice flour, and rice flour breadcrumbs (the Waitrose brand), and, with the microplaned parmesan, this provides sufficient binding to the mix, and the little butternut balls will hold their shape well.
Serve with a simple mushroom sauce or similar: I made mine with garlic and shallots sauteed in a little olive oil, chestnut mushrooms, a few extra chopped sage leaves and sour cream.”
Serves 2 generously
“neck” of the butternut- about a 25cm long piece, peeled and chopped roughly into large chunks (the equivalent of about 3 cups of chopped butternut)
2 banana shallots, chopped finely
5 sage leaves, chopped finely
1 fat clove garlic, microplaned
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup microplaned parmesan
1 tbsp potato starch/flour
½ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup rice flour breadcrumbs
1 tsp Maldon salt
Good grinding black pepper
Steam the butternut until it’s soft: this will take about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and lay the pieces onto kitchen towel, to allow them to dry out. You may need to change the towel half way through the drying out process, as the paper will absorb a lot of the moisture very quickly- just keep changing it as you see fit.
While they are drying out, get on with the shallots. Using 1 tbsp of the olive oil and the butter, fry the shallots and garlic and sage on a low heat for about 8-10 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat.
Mix the flours, crumbs, seasoning and parmesan in a bowl. Add the shallots, including all the oil from the pan. Then, using a ricer, rice the butternut directly on top of the flour mix. Mix well with a spoon (or your hands). Roll into little balls and pop the balls onto a plate to rest for about 5 minutes.
Heat the 2 tbsp olive oil in a non stick frying pan, and fry your little butternut balls: 3-4 minutes on each side will be perfect. I do mine in batches, and I keep the fried balls warm while I finish the rest.
Serve with the mushroom sauce, as I mentioned, or melted herb butter and parmesan. A simple and comforting dish: enjoy.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
I live on Salisbury Plain, England, in a very old, wonky thatched cottage that looks like it’s been iced with royal icing and topped with Shredded Wheat. I grew up in South Africa, but have lived in England for 18 years.
I run my design business, Hector and Haddock, from my studio at home where I design linocuts, screen prints, tea towels and greeting cards. A complete bibliophile and self confessed hoarder, all of my designs and work pay homage to vintage graphics and paper. I also use this extensive paper ephemera collection to create bespoke paper pictures for clients.
More than anything, I love to cook for people. I hope that you find these recipes helpful, inspiring and delicious, even if you don’t follow a gluten free diet. There’s more on the inspiration behind my blog in The Plain Kitchen.