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Gaskins Tour + Garganelli with Autumn Squash Recipe

by Grace Bonney

I’m excited to wrap up this week with not one delicious recipe, but two. Last week Julia and I joined our friend and photographer Kelly Merchant for a quick trip across the river to Gaskins, a fantastic new restaurant run by Nick and Sarah Suarez in Germantown, NY (about two hours north of NYC). Gaskins was an instant hit when it opened, and we couldn’t flip through Instagram this summer without seeing someone we knew enjoying a meal there. I love Gaskins for the delicious food and beautiful space, but what I love most about it is that it’s the sort of place where you’ll see lifetime locals eating alongside weekenders. A lot of businesses up here tend to cater to one or the other, so it’s always nice to see something wonderful open up that is adored by everyone in town. I’m delighted to share a tour inside their lovely space, as well as an incredible fall pasta recipe (Garganelli with Autumn Squash, Chili, Hazelnuts and Sage) that you will not want to miss. If you’re upstate, be sure to visit Gaskins in person — their back porch is the perfect place to relax and catch the sunset after a long week. xo, grace

Photographs by Kelly Merchant Photography

Gaskins (61)
Gaskins (68)
Garganelli with Autumn Squash, Chili, Hazelnuts and Sage

1 lb. of garganelli pasta or similar shape
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 butternut squash, skinned, de-seeded and cubed
1 delicata squash, de-seeded and cut into half moons
1 chili pepper, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup of toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup sage leaves, fried in oil until crispy

Prepare the butternut squash puree by lightly sautéing the butternut squash in a pan with the olive oil on medium heat. Cook 5 minutes and then add water until it reaches the top of the squash and braise until fully cooked through. Blend until smooth and reserve for later.

Toss delicata squash in olive oil and season with salt. Place on half sheet tray and roast at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until fully cooked. Reserve for later.

Boil a large pot of water with a handful of salt. Drop garganelli and cook until al dente, typically 8-10 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, saute chili pepper slices and garlic on low heat. Spoon in butternut squash puree and roasted delicata. When pasta is al dente, strain into pan along with some of the pasta water. Cook until the sauce coats the noodles and finish with butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Plate pasta and then top with toasted hazelnuts, fried sage leaves and some good olive oil.

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The beautiful (and instantly recognizable) blue facade of Gaskins was a carefully considered choice. When choosing the color, Sarah says, "We went back and forth for a while, but both really loved the idea of something bold, but also a color that resonates with most people. It's a pretty striking color, and the fact that we did it in monochrome, without any accents on the windows or trim, is really our favorite part about it. It took many samples to choose the blue. It started as Behr Midnight Dream, but we ended up using Benjamin Moore for the overall color, so now it's a color-matched shade called 'GaskinsBlue!'"
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Both Nick and Sarah have backgrounds in food and hospitality. Nick has worked in both wine and food for years until 2013, when he opened his own catering company. Sarah grew up in the Hudson Valley and has worked in hospitality for 15 years, most recently managing Franny's, Roman's, Diner and Marlow & Sons. After a few years of toying with the idea of opening their own space, and then operating Backyard Cooking Company together, Sarah and Nick knew they were ready for a change. They wanted to be near great local farms and after finding this spot on the corner of Church and Main (with an apartment upstairs where they could live), they knew they'd found their spot.
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The Gaskins lobby is a warm space that reflects the people behind it. Sarah says, "We aim to be a haven; a place you can feast and celebrate or just drop by for a quick beer. We’ve chosen a life as chef and host, so we can do what we love: feed and take care of people."
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The curved hex tile around the bar (previous slide), and this decorative No. 2 tile, was designed by Studio Tack, who designed the full Gaskins makeover from start to finish.
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The construction and renovation process at Gaskins took just under a year and involved a wide range of local artists, makers and designers like Studio Tack, Threshold Builders, Fern, Rowland Butler, Caliber, Luddite, Macolm MacDougall, Maison Bergogne, 700 Grand, John Reilly, Matt Cassity and Wishbone Letterpress.
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The bar facing Church street. The ceilings, windowsills and moldings are all painted in Benjamin Moore Navajo White. "I love this color," Sarah says. "It's perfectly creamy."
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I love the mix of vintage rugs and fresh flowers at Gaskins.
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The main dining room, which faces onto the main street of Germantown. As they grow, Sarah says they'd, "like to find ways to better support the needs of our community." "I'd love to be open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but our goal is also to be owner-operators. We like being here and doing the work ourselves, engaging with the people who are helping us to make a living. We don't want to expand and keep opening new things. We like what we have and are excited to build our life in this place -- but we also crave a life that is balanced and with time for ourselves and to enjoy this amazing area."
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The Schefflera plant in the back of Gaskins' dining room was a gift from Sarah and Nick's neighbor who owns Eve's International. Germantown has truly embraced its newest addition with open arms. "We have so much gratitude for that, it has made things so much easier. We have really supportive neighbors and fellow business owners in Germantown, but also in the surrounding towns. The phrase "The tide rises all boats" really feels like the motto for new-business in the area," Sarah says. The farm table was a gift from Nick's dad. The main dining room walls are two colors of paint and a skim coat of joint compound to create a plaster look, but with a little less labor and expense.
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Glass and steel partitions separate the dining area from the bar. The smaller lighting fixtures are a mix of Rejuvenation and Schoolhouse Electric with vintage glass globes.
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An antique kettle with a growing plant stands outside of the restroom area.
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One of my favorite things about Gaskins is the wealth of incredible flower arrangements. Sarah makes them all on her own and sources her flowers from Tiny Hearts Farm in Copake, NY.
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Another beautiful arrangement by Sarah, in a vase by one of my favorite ceramicists, Cassie Griffin.
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Nick's Garganelli pasta- see the recipe in the post below!

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