Gnocchi with butternut squash, sage, and shiitakes

Gnocchi

It’s World Food Day!

On October 16, 1945 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was founded, built upon “its belief that the goal of freedom from want of food, suitable and adequate for the health and strength of all people can be achieved.” Celebrated around the world, World Food Day honors that day and Oxfam’s commitment to defeating hunger.

World Food Day 1

So, what’s a TurnTable to do?

Gather in solidarity with people who grow the world’s food. I hosted a World Food Day dinner to foster a conversation with our friends about where our food comes from, who cultivates it, and how to can take action to help protect farmers and farmland around the world.

Happy WFD

Since most of these lovely humans are development and/or public health workers (for UNDP, USAID, the Colombian government, the American India Foundation, et cetera), this was not a hard thing to get us talking about.  All we needed was a little fuel!

I headed to our local farmers market to pick up the essentials for some of my favorite autumn recipes.

The Menu

♫ Suggested listening: a song about having all you can eat. ♫

Click to listen: The Fat Boys – “All You Can Eat”

Inspired by Thomas Keller.

Ingredients

  • One package gnocchi (approx. 14 to 16 oz., or make your own, if you’re feeling ambitious)
  • One butternut squash, peeled and diced (this will make more than you need; reserve extra for something else delicious!)
  • 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped, stems removed
  • 1 – 2 minced shallots
  • Sage leaves
  • Thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Optional – 1 tbs. butter

Instructions

For the squash:

Lotta squash

We’ve got options.  Either a) toss the cubes in olive oil and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or:

b) Heat a small amount of olive or canola oil over medium heat in a skillet large enough to hold the squash in a single layer (or cook the squash in batches–don’t over-crowd the pan!).  If using butter, add now and brown it just a bit.  Then add the squash, salt and pepper to taste, and the sage leaves. Cook, stirring the pieces to brown them on all sides, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until tender throughout. Reduce the heat as necessary to cook the squash and brown it lightly, without burning. Take out the squash and sage, drain excess oil if there is any, and get that pan ready to go for the mushrooms.

For the mushrooms:

Shrooms

Sautée your minced shallots in butter or olive oil until translucent, then add your mushrooms, salt, pepper, and thyme, and cook for about 4 minutes.  Add additional olive oil if needed.

For the big finish:

Cook your gnocchi, either by boiling them out of the package as per the instructions, or making your own.

Heat up some olive oil or butter and brown them a bit on all sides in your skillet.

Toss your squash, mushrooms, and gnocchi together, and add additional sage leaves for garnish.

It’s delicious, it’s not all that hard, it’s vegan if you’re not using butter (I haven’t and it tastes grand), and it’s pretty.  Serve up some autumnal gnocchi and some good World Food Day conversation.

From Oxfam, peep some information about land grabs and take action at Behind the Brands.

Further reading on food security:

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