Crispy Kabocha Gnocchi with Walnut Pesto

Gnocchi often gets put up on a pedestal, where it do rightfully deserve to be, however,  it has a reputation for being fiddly and time-consuming.  We had our go at making gnocchi  (failed and succeed many times) it take a few bit of work for such a delicious dish, which can us wondering, how can we eat this bloody delish pillow of fluffy goodness faster and taste better?

Enter pumpkin gnocchi. Well, more specifically kabocha gnocchi. The beauty of this squash is, it lasts forever and tastes amazing.We were stoked that we succeeded to make gnocchi without potatoes. 

Kabocha squash has a subtly sweet taste that sort of reminds me of chestnuts.  Its texture is relatively starchy and there’s really not that much water content in the squash.  This makes the whole process It’s easier, faster, tastier, and more colourful than potato gnocchi and also allows for a much bigger margin of error, due to the fact you have to add less flour. Therefore you are less likely to end up with beige coloured rock-like gnocchi for dinner

This kabocha gnocchi with pesto is so bloody tasty, however, we would also like to try this recipe with pumpkin, acorn squash & sweet potatoes. All would taste amazing however I think this pesto gnocchi will blow your socks off. 

This  Japanese winter squash is  available all year but is best in late summer and early fall. If you are wondering where to buy kabocha squash, it’s available year-round in most supermarkets. You might also find it under the name kent pumpkin in Austalia. 

This whole meal was so yummy we had it twice in the same week. That’s saying a lot in our house. We also have enough in the freezer for 5 more meals! This is a very large recipe, so expect to freeze several trays of gnocchi.


The most time-consuming part of this recipe is probably the baking of the squash. I did mine the night before, which made everything a lot easier the next day.  You can short cut this step by microwaving your pumpkin, however, I think that roasted pumpkin is a lot more flavoursome. 


If your want to know the gnocchi pesto calories, check out the nutritional chart below!








Kabocha Gnocchi with Pesto
Kabocha Gnocchi with Pesto
  1. First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice the butternut squash in half, removing the seeds with a spoon. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 60-75 minutes, or until you pierce the squash and there’s no resistance. Let the squash cool.
  2. Once cool, scoop the flesh out of the skin and whisk with a fork (or puree in a food processor) until smooth. In a saute pan, cook the squash over medium heat until the liquid has evaporated (this is important so you don’t have liquid-y dough). Cool the squash puree in the fridge. When the squash has cooled completely, whisk in the egg, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Add the flour to the mixture, one cup at a time using a fork. The dough will be sticky – that’s okay. Let the dough cool for about 30 minutes.
  3. Because kabocha squash is a pretty starchy squash, it does not give off much water, and therefore the gnocchi dough is surprisingly easy to handle
  4. Working in portions, roll out the gnocchi into foot long “snakes” and cut them into bite size pieces. Press the tines of a fork into each one to give it that characteristic gnocchi shape.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, reduce it to a low simmer and carefully add the gnocchi. They are delicate, so do not treat them like store bought pasta.
  6. When they are completely cooked, the gnocchi will begin to float to the top of the water. Carefully transfer them to a colander using a slotted spoon. Lightly rinse them with warm water.
  7. Finally, in a large saute pan, melt the butter until it starts to bubble. Season the gnocchi with salt and pepper and brown on all sides until they look like golden little nuggets.
  8. Add your pesto to the pan and warm to your liking.
Recipe Notes

For the Pesto

100 g basil
1 garlic clove, grated
50 g walnuts
20 g parmesan
25 g extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Add the basil, walnuts, grated garlic clove,  parmesan, salt, pepper and a bit of oil to the blender. Mix it well and add the rest of the oil. 

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