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Halloween Pumpkin Gnocchi

October 31, 2011

There’s this scene in Love Actually, truly one of my favourite movies, where Colin Firth is trying to communicate with the incredibly cute Aurélia who speaks only Portuguese. She’s asking him about the novel he’s writing and she mimes genres to ask what it’s about. She mimes fright and he says “Frightening? Scary? Yes, sometimes scary and sometimes not. Mainly scary how bad the writing is.”

Yes, so let’s all pretend as we read this recipe that it’s only because it’s Halloween that my gnocchi looks like this, because clearly, amorphous gnocchi blobs are inherently terrifying. If it wasn’t Halloween, you would absolutely be gazing at a bowl of perfectly uniform and aesthetically pleasing gnocchi pieces.

Great. With that, on to the recipe! I’ll add that Mark Bittman has a wonderful recipe for potato gnocchi in this “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” which really set me at ease when first attempting gnocchi a few months ago. He made me feel like it really was something we can all make and have a degree of success with. His best advice was to add the minimum amount of flour possible so as to not let it get too chewy when cooked. It’s a great rule of thumb and I used it in this recipe as well.

Pumpkin Gnocchi in Butter and Sage Sauce

Approximately 2 pounds of pumpkin (or half a medium pumpkin), peeled, diced, then boiled until soft.
2 to 2 1/2 cups flour
pepper and salt

1/2 onion, very finely diced
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup white wine (I buy a $7 bottle of dubiously-named “Dry White” wine and keep it in my fridge at all times for moments like this)
1 tsp dried sage (I like to get the leaves, then crush them myself with the mortar and pestle)
pepper and salt

Let the pumpkin drain well, then mash in a large bowl. Add flour about 1/2 cup at a time until you can just manage to form the mixture – it will still be quite sticky. Honestly, I never actually got here and ended up just dropping pieces into water using two spoons. The ideal process is to form a rope, rolled on a floured board) and cut the rope into similar-sized pieces. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t actually want to form a dough, just a mixture that will hold together enough to boil without completely falling apart.

If you don’t care about shape and feel like you’ve added enough flour, test your mixture by dropping a piece into boiling water. Let it boil until it rises to the top of the water, plus 1 minute, cut in half and taste, checking for texture. If it feels too watery around the outsides, don’t worry – this water will drain off.

Set gnocchi pieces on a plate in one layer only (or else they’ll stick together) and it’s fine if they’re left to cool. Don’t put them in the oven or they’ll dry out too much.

When you’re finishing the last few batches of gnocchi, sauté the diced onion in 1 tbsp oil in a large non-stick pan. Once the onion is browned, splash the white wine in and let it boil off for about 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce, then start adding the gnocchi. Cook until the gnocchi is hot and if you like, a little browned, then serve.

Optional: top with grated parmesan cheese and/or pine nuts

Make With: Salad with apple, walnut, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin (bake with salt and pepper until just starting to brown)

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 6, 2014 5:56 pm

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