Kabocha Squash Gnocchi

pan fried gnocchi
Kabocha has peaked my interesting lately.

There’s been a lot of blog posts about kabocha squash  – from No Recipe’s award winning kabocha pumpkin cream cake to Gourmet Fury’s Canadian Chimichurri Pork Cheeks with Kabocha Parsnip Puree.  I’ve never had kabocha, so when I saw it in the local market about a month ago, I decided to pick one up.

I then proceeded to forget about it . . . for weeks.

The beauty of this squash is, it lasts forever.  So, even after several weeks, my squash was as good as new.  Inspired by a butternut squash gnocchi recipe from Saveur, I decided to try my own version using kabocha squash.  You won’t believe how easy and how few ingredients it takes to make your own gnocchi!

Kabocha squash has a subtle 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.  When roasting, it gives off an amazing aroma that fills up the entire house.  I love it.

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.  I wondered whether I could simplify this recipe immensely by microwaving cut-up squash.  However, since this was my first time cooking kabocha, I thought I should play by the rules.

Kabocha Squash Gnocchi
preparation time: 2 hours | serves 4
1 kabocha squash, baked
2 eggs
1 cup flour

Preparing the Squash
Preheat oven to 350°. Cut squash in half, slather the flesh with vegetable oil, and place the halves (facedown) in a baking pan.  Bake until soft, about 45 min to 1 h. Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh. Transfer to a large bowl, add eggs, and mash together with a potato masher. Season to taste with salt, then work in flour to form a thick, soft dough.

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.  I bet kabocha gnocchi is much easier to make than pumpkin gnocchi, which would probably yield a much wetter dough.

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.
Kabocha Squash Gnocchi
At this point, you can freeze or refrigerate the gnocchi for future use.  Or you can either boil it or pan-fry it!
Of course, boiling is classic. Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the gnocchi pieces (they should sink) and wait until they float.  Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.  Drain water, and serve with sauce.
pan fried gnocchi
Alternatively, pan-fried gnocchi tastes fantastic!  I love the crunchy outsides.  I personally thought the fried version tasted like . . uhh . . 10x better than the boiled version.  But then, when is something ever not better once it’s been fried?  😉

To pan fry, heat up a small amount of vegetable oil (or butter!  I did mixture of both) in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Pan fry the gnocchi on one side for a few minutes until the edges are brown.  Flip over, and fry on the other side until browned.
pan fried gnocchi
That’s it!  And enjoy while hot!  Honestly, you can just sprinkle some sea salt or truffle oil on top and it will taste absolutely fantastic!  Play around with different herbs.  I bet sage would be good.

Or you can pour a nice meat ragu over it (click over to the post here), and finish with some coarse sea salt and truffle oil.  This was really good!

Pan fried Gnocchi with Meat Ragu

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  1. says

    Nice job! I just made sweet potato gnocchi 😀 I have that same adorable eggie whisk – it’s the cutest thing! Beautiful dinner!

  2. says

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard of kabocha until a few months ago. And the fact that they last for quite some time is very appealing to me (I always tend to over purchase on the produce and they go to waste).

  3. megsansouci says

    OMG! I just tried your recipe for the gnocci and it was fantastic! I fried the squash, but I’m seeing all kinds of recipes on line for this squash now. I just found it in our local market a few days ago and wondered what it was. I now have seen recipes for desserts, soups, canning, gnocci’s and many more. I wonder why I never saw this squash before? The label on my squash says it came from Mexico. Most squash I have seen online are squat, green and look like a small pumpkin or gourd. My Kabocha was mostly shades of reddish orange with some green and was slightly pointed at the bottom, but it definitely said it was a Kabocha Squash on the label. Anyway, the taste is fantastic. Thanks for this fabulous recipe…I’m off hunting recipes now.

  4. jentinyurbankitchen says

    Hi megsansouci,
    Thanks for the kind comments! I’m so glad you enjoyed the kabocha squash gnocchi. Have fun trying more things!

  5. Amanda says

    Thanks for the great idea! I live in Japan and I LOVE kabocha… I’m always looking for new ways to use it. I’ll definitely visit your blog again – very fun, creative and and helpful. Keep up the great work! :)

  6. says

    I must be honest: I did not know was kabocha was until I read your post. It’s very interesting…I’ve never tried it, just zucca…is it so different as variety? Anyway, I’ll try and let you know.

    Thanks for posting.

    • Erica Dahl says

      Great idea! It would have been nice to have an idea of the size of the kabocha – they vary quite a bit. Because I also had problem with very sticky dough that I couldn’t handle easily. We wound up just letting spoonfulls drop into a pan. Still tasty, but I think next time I’ll try just one egg and 2 cups of flour and a smaller kabocha.

  7. Makeitct says

    Please post the measurement of the Kabocha. I made this recipe with a medium size kabocha and ended up using a 2lb. bag of flour, resulting with the dough still too sticky. Also, it ended tasting flavorless.

  8. jentinyurbankitchen says

    Hi Makeitct,
    Wow! I’m surprised the dough was sticky even after 2 lbs of flour! Kabocha squash is actually quite starchy and shouldn’t be that sticky. Perhaps you bought a different variety of the squash? Sorry I can’t help more than that. I did not weigh my kabocha when I made this dish so I’m not sure the measurements. Sorry!

  9. Makeitct says

    Hi Jen,
    What I meant from my question is: since all sizes of squash vary, about how many cups of squash should yield from the squash for this recipe?

  10. Kahn265 says

    I’m trying to make this now and I’m running into the exact same issue. I’ve gone through 3 cups of flour (we are now out) and it’s a wet sludge that prefers to stick to the surface I’m rolling on or my hands to making a “long snake”.

  11. Christine Strain says

    Gah! I should have read the comments! My kabocha squash was definitely not “starchy and dry” it was as wet as any squash. If I had read the original recipe that was adapted I would have seen the line “scoop out the flesh into a strainer, then press out as much liquid as you can”  which is exactly what we should have done. We ended up using at least 4 cups of flour and the gnocchi were tasteless bricks :(

  12. Yana says

    Years later…I made this yesterday. Definitely used more than 1 cup of flour, but I tried to use as little as possible. Rolling it did take a lot of extra flour, so I ended up patting out a square, cutting it into strips, then again into little gnocchi…I skipped the fork shaping after the first 30 or so…I boiled first, which made them fluffy and light, then threw into a pan with browned butter and sauteed briefly. (I tried pan frying, and it was tasty, but I preferred boiling them first.) Served with oven broiled cod and crispy spinach, beet salad with dijon mustard and cilantro. Yum! Was very impressive.

  13. jen says

    on my third cup of flour and the dough is still super sticky… and i know for sure i bought the right variety of squash because i eat them all the time.

  14. jen says

    i feel the same way…. i should have read all the comments before making. i used a ridiculous amount of flour- and gluten-free flour is not cheap.

  15. squashmomma says

    The key here is to cook the squash the day before! I made it once perfectly with cooking the kabocha a day before making the gnocchi…then I tried making it again today, exact same everything, BUT I steamed the squash before mixing with the flour and eggs! I had cooked it the day before but for whatever stupid reason decided to try warming it up first…maybe I thought it would mix better? Nope! Freshly cooked squash, whether oven or pot, contains more water and would throw off the recipe! Now that I know the secret I will make it again even more often, a perfect way to preserve the bounty of harvest :)

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