This easy butternut squash gnocchi has all the cosy flavours we love. Made with roasted butternut squash, soft and fluffy potato gnocchi, and topped with toasted chopped walnuts and rosemary this dinner takes less than 1 hour to make and requires very little effort.
This butternut squash gnocchi is an amazing dinner that your whole family will love, while keeping your weekly shop on budget. Butternut squash is roasted with onions and garlic then blended into a silky smooth sauce with cream.
Pan-fry some fluffy potato gnocchi and you've got the perfect vegetarian dinner. Or, if you're not veggie, add in some crispy, salty bacon for next-level goodness.
Gnocchi is a potato dumpling that goes crispy on the outside and stays soft and fluffy on the inside when pan-fried. They're also very budget-friendly so I feature them heavily in recipes like this chorizo gnocchi with mozzarella, or this broccoli gnocchi bake. This baked spinach and tomato version are always very popular and the classic simple pan-fried gnocchi are always a hit.
⭐️ Why You'll Love This Butternut Squash Gnocchi
- The butternut squash sauce is silky, creamy and full of flavour from being roasted.
- Potato gnocchi are cozy and comforting.
- You can keep this veggie or add in some crispy fried bacon.
- Add cheese and you have the most comforting cheesy baked gnocchi.
Only a handful of budget ingredients are all you need for this easy Italian-inspired dinner recipe.
- butternut squash- you can use another type of squash like acorn, carnival or just a regular pumpkin will work.
- potato gnocchi- there's no need to boil these dumplings first. They get pan-fried in some olive oil before being mixed in with the sauce.
- onion and garlic- these get roasted on the same tray with the squash meaning hardly any clean-up.
- cream- gets mixed in with the squash as it gets blended in the food processor. You can always use water or vegetable stock in its place for a calorie-restricted diet, or to keep costs down.
- walnuts- I love the pairing of rosemary, walnuts, and squash. It brings a warming, earthy flavour that pairs beautifully with the pancetta.
- fresh mozzarella- the perfect topping for turning this easy dinner into the perfect baked gnocchi.
See recipe card for quantities.
📖 Substitutions & Variations
Seeing as this budget recipe has so few ingredients there really isn't too much to substitute but there are a couple of modifications that you can make should you choose to.
- gnocchi - if you aren't a big fan of gnocchi you can always use pasta instead. Something like penne would be perfect in this easy recipe.
- cream - for any dairy allergies or to keep this butternut squash recipe vegan you can skip the cream and use water or vegetable stock instead.
- vegetarian - skip the pancetta and just go with the walnuts instead.
Seasoning a recipe
A note on seasoning- Every recipe will require salt. I do not specify the amount because the seasoning is very subjective to taste, tolerance, and diet. The best way to use salt is to start early in the cooking process and taste and layer as you cook and as the dish develops.
👩🏻🍳 Step By Step
1 & 2- Roasting the butternut squash
- Peel and chop the squash discarding the seeds (or saving them to roast later). Thickly slice a large onion and peel 3-5 cloves of garlic, keeping them whole.
- Toss the vegetables with some olive oil and some freshly picked rosemary leaves. Roast in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until everything is tender, golden, and fragrant. *While the squash is roasting, pan-fry the gnocchi in some olive oil for about 2 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside for later.
3 & 4 Making the sauce
- Place all the roasted vegetables in a food processor with a little boiling water. *See the full recipe below for amounts.
- Blend until you have a thick purée. Add in the cream or some more water or stock and blend until you have a thick sauce.
5 & 6
- Once your sauce is blended and you're happy with the consistency and seasoning, you may want to pass your sauce through a sieve to get it ultra smooth. *Please note- this is completely optional and won't make any difference to the taste!
- Mix the pan-fried gnocchi into the sauce until all the dumplings are coated.
7 & 8 Making butternut squash gnocchi bake
- To make this into a butternut squash gnocchi bake, tear a ball of fresh mozzarella into 8-10 pieces and place on top of the gnocchi.
- Bake in an oven preheated to 180ºc for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted, and starting to turn slightly golden.
To finish off the gnocchi bake, top with some chopped walnuts and fresh chopped parsley.
There are only a couple of pieces of kitchen equipment needed, but sometimes it's helpful to know exactly what was used to create a particular recipe.
Food processor- I have (and love) this one because it's a food processor and blender in one.
Cast iron skillet- this trio of pre-seasoned skillets are incredible value for money and I use mine almost every day!
This butternut squash sauce as well as the gnocchi keeps really well in the fridge and freezer making it great for making ahead and for meal prep.
- butternut squash sauce in a container for up to 3 days
- pan fried gnocchi in the fridge for up to 2 days
- assembled dish- up to 3 days
- butternut squash sauce in a container or freezer bag for up to 3 months
- the finished dish for up to 2 months
💡 Top tip
To make ahead- make and freeze the sauce.
Right before serving pan fry the gnocchi and gently heat the sauce. Mix the gnocchi and sauce together and bake with cheese before serving.
The BEST Butternut Squash Gnocchi
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 yellow onion, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 500 g package of shelf-stable gnocchi
- 50 g parmesan, grated
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons walnuts *see notes
- 75 ml milk *see notes
- 50 g pancetta or prosciutto *see notes
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Peel the butternut squash and cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Chop the squash into 2.5cm (1 inch) cubes. Place on a baking tray with the sliced onion, and peeled garlic. Sprinkle on the rosemary and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until the onions and garlic are tender and golden and the squash is soft and cooked through.
- Place the roasted vegetables into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add a little bit of water to get a thick smooth purée.
- In a medium frying pan with high sides heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, gently fry the pancetta or prosciutto until it’s crispy. Once crispy, spoon all of the pancetta into a small bowl along with the fat from the pan.
- Spoon the butternut squash puré into the frying pan, pour in 75ml water, and the milk and stir in the gnocchi. Gently simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes until the gnocchi is tender. Stir in the parmesan and taste and adjust the seasoning and squeeze in the lemon juice. Stir half the pancetta or crumble half the prosciutto into the sauce adding in some of the fat too.*see notes
- Tear the mozzarella into 4-6 pieces and place on top of the gnocchi. Place under the grill (broiler) for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted. Top with the remaining pancetta, cracked black pepper, walnuts and fresh parsley.
- You can keep this squash vegetarian by skipping the pancetta or prosciutto.
- Keep the fat down you can leave out adding the extra fat back to the sauce. It just helps to add richness.
- Instead of walnuts you can use pine nuts or skip the nuts altogether. Breadcrumbs would make a great substitute.
- Placing the pan under the grill to melt the cheese works great, but you can just place the torn mozzarella in the bowl and sprinkle it with olive oil and skip melting the cheese under the grill.