When you are a vegetarian & you go out to eat at a certain type of restaurant at a certain time of year in this town, odds are that the one choice available to you is a dish of ravioli, stuffed with a sweetish dense-ish vegetable (butternut squash, beets, pumpkin), served in a sauce that involves a lot of garlic, a lot of butter or olive oil, & some sort of bitter green. I don't care for sweet vegetables, or, really, sweet entrees in general, but the thing about this kind of ravioli is that I always get very irritated when there I am on date night & I am forced to order stupid squash ravioli again, only it is, 9 times out of 10, very good.
So I've been craving this very specific dish lately, & this weekend I got some frozen squash ravioli & came up with a pretty reasonable version. But then this afternoon, I found myself with a day that had gone pretty smoothly, an inclination to cook, & a butternut squash. I wasn't about to tackle ravioli (that's a family affair around here), but ever since my first attempt I've been thinking about a sort of inside-out version, fresh gnocchi with big chunks of roasted squash & garlicky, buttery chard.
I decided to try the gnocchi from Vegan with a Vengeance, because I was curious about using baked potatoes in the recipe (I have always boiled them). I think that the baking, plus using 1/2 c whole wheat flour to 1 c whole wheat pastry flour added a really nice layer to the dish that stood up well to being tossed with assertive fall flavors.
I think that it was pretty prescient of me to fail to thoroughly clean out the summer garden beds, so that the chard I'd been neglecting for months could flourish just in time to provide us with dinner tonight. I sauteed it with garlic, olive oil, & a good chunk of Earth Balance "buttery sticks," the vegan margarine with the worst name but best flavor around.
I get this roasted squash prep from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, though I had never even glanced a the squash section of that book until a friend brought this dish to Thanksgiving years ago.
Even after putting them through the ricer, I found the baked potatoes a little harder to incorporate with the flour than boiled would have been, but in the end, the same dense dryness that made them hard to mix turned into a really excellent dough that had just the right amount of non-sticky moisture.
I do like flicking them down the fork into a pile of rustic little dumplings. Don't they look just right for fall?