The fall season brings us many varieties of delicious winter squashes and pumpkins. Because now is the best time of the season to eat them (they are much sweeter immediately after the harvest), Patrick and I have been going crazy with ideas, trying to find the best ways to integrate our love of squashes into meals. We've been wanting to make our own gnocchi from scratch for a while. Patrick made it once in culinary school and I've never made it. I've only had gnocchi at a few restaurants, making me fall in love with them. In case you're not familiar, gnocchi is a thick and soft dumpling that originated in Italy (Wikipedia). We both love those cute, pillow-like, fluffy Italian dumplings!
We brainstormed and thought it would be great to make a pumpkin gnocchi. We found this great recipe online, tried it out, and it was a success! It was incredibly delicious and memorable. The gnocchi was had a light crispy exterior yet still soft and fluffy, perfect to bite, and had a subtle pumpkin taste. It went very well with the sage butter; simple and satisfying.
The dish can be served on its own but since we always have a side vegetable, Patrick made broccoli rabe with currants and pine-nuts, which went really great with the gnocchi. I won't be surprised if this meal starts to haunt my dreams soon. We're already brainstorming of different gnocchi types to make!
The recipe is below, as well as some photos and video clips to help you out on this gnocchi making journey. We hope you love it as much as we do!
Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Recipe
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes
Serves 4 people
- 1 cup of puree cooked kabocha pumpkin*
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
- 3-4 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour, sifted (I love Pillsbury Softasilk Cake Flour)
- 3 teaspoons minced fresh sage
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
*To make kabocha pumpkin puree: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil (cut side down), and roast for one hour and 30 minutes. Cool pumpkin, scoop out pumpkin meat and run it through a blender until smooth. I usually do this the night or morning before.
- In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, ricotta, parmesan, eggs and salt together.
- Add 2 cups of the sifted flour and mix well with your hands. The dough will be very sticky and impossible to work with. Add another half cup of flour and mix that in - you want the dough to still be pretty sticky, but pliable enough to shape into a large log. If it's not, keep adding a little flour at a time until you can get a soft dough that will be rollable. It should never require more than 4 cups of flour. When you feel confidant that you can roll the dough, cover the dough with a damp towel. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add enough salt to make the water salty. When it boils, lower it down to simmer while you make the gnocchi.
- Now we're going to roll and cut the dough to make the gnocchi. Spread some flour on a large work surface and have more flour ready. Cut the dough log into four equal pieces. Take one piece and cut it in half. Roll the piece of dough into a snake about 1/2 inch thick, then cut it into pieces about the thickness of a fork. SEE VIDEO BELOW.
- The next part is optional but will make your dumplings thinner, lighter, and will create ridges to hold up sauces better. Dust the gnocchi with a little flour, then use one finger to push the dumpling up onto the tines of a fork to make an imprint. Let the gnocchi drop back to the work surface. SEE VIDEO BELOW.
- For the next step, you will start to cook the gnocchi but it's very important to work them in small batches so they do not stick to each other. Increase the heat to a rolling boil. Gently pick up a few gnocchi at a time and drop them into the water. Boil the gnocchi until they float, then remove them with a slotted spoon or spider skimmer. Lay the cooked gnocchi on a baking sheet and toss with a little olive oil so they don't stick together.
- When all the gnocchi are done with the boiling process, heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large non-stick pan until it stops frothing. Add enough gnocchi to the pan to cover it in one layer. Do not let them stack up on each other. Let them fry undisturbed for 90 seconds. Sprinkle half the sage over the pan. Cook for another minute, then turn out onto plates. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi. You may have to do this in several batches. Serve as soon as they're all done for the best taste and texture.