Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin & ricotta gnocchi


Hey, it's October. What were you expecting, spring peas?

This is the first time I have used a pumpkin to make gnocchi, and so we are flying a little blind here. I also didn't use a recipe. The ingredients seemed to come together naturally.

It started out by clearing away all the seeds. This is a Tonda Padana pumpkin (or winter squash, if you prefer); grown by a friend locally from Italian seeds that I provided her. I planted the seeds also, but didn't get a single pumpkin.

I decided to roast the pumpkin, and to do that I placed the two sides face down in water inside a roasting pan. This went into the oven, at about 375 degrees F, for about an hour, or until the flesh was very soft.

Here's the cooked pumpkin, ready to have the flesh scooped out. (It was on the watery side, and so I let the flesh sit in a colander for about an hour to drain.)

Here's what I wound up with for ingredients (clockwise from bottom left): 3 cups of pumpkin; 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; 1 lb. of fresh ricotta; and 1/8th cup of finely processed amaretti cookies (I used the Vitamix on that). There's also some nutmeg sprinkled on top, as well as salt and pepper.

Before adding an egg, taste the mix to see if you like it and adjust seasonings if needed.

Though others would probably suggest adding flour to the entire mixture, I prefer working in small batches. I put a bit of flour on my work surface, scooped out some of the mix, then very delicately worked it all together.

It's critical to not work the dough very hard. My preference is to go as light on the flour (and the mixing and the rolling) as I can get away with while still getting the dough to hold together.

You can see that these gnocchi are barely worked at all. This makes it a little difficult to handle but the payoff, I think, is well worth it.

Here are the gnocchi after they were quick fried in very hot extra virgin olive oil. They are served with just a little brown butter and sage, plus crumbled Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Definitely among the lightest, most delicate gnocchi I've ever had.

From now on I will be supplying these pumpkin seeds to as many friends as I can convince to take them.



Anonymous said...

Ok. gnocci sounds so easy to make.But who makes it regularly knows one little mistakes and you are either biting into the something liked soft nothing or in the rubber ball.Looks like you mastered it and with pumpkin first roasted..great:)

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I never thought to pan fry them. I always cooked them in water first, but this eliminates the possibility they'd fall apart. Great fall recipe.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my mama mia, they look good, we are having rain so hard it is snowing up in the mountains, weather people talk of opening Mt. Hood in Oregon early for skiing. Oh,my God..we live in vancouver, washington state, it is raining so hard I cannot remember that the sun was ever out this year..bad winter already here, the gnocchi looks divine you treat it like it is suppose to be treated, lightly and gently..Your food looks good, tasty and healthy, will look for some artison pumpkins here that is what they call them, yummee for the tummies on a wet and wild day and evening, mangia..mjs from the 'couv!!!!!

Thomas Henry Strenk said...

So, even the "pumpkins" you cook have to be Italian?!?!
Those gnocchi look tasty, Mr. M, and I like the idea of adding those cookies.
Whenever I roast a squash or pumpkin as an ingredient for a dish, I find that it never has the deep rich flavor that old-fashioned canned pumpkin does.
Just made some pumpkin ice cream with the canned stuff (and evaporated milk}; turned out terrific.

Claudia said...

Mmm fried - yes. Not boiled. Light gnocchi - what a concept.

Velva said...

Happy Autumn to you! I am always impressed with folks that actually work with fresh pumpkin-love it. Definitely worth it.


Fred said...

This looks like a winning side dish or appetizer to serve with some of my fresh caught striped bass. Always fearful working with flour or dough. Got any additional do or don't tips on this dish for this novice?

Mister Meatball said...

Mmmmm, baaasssss!

As for tips, Fred, I'd definitely go the small-batch route. Time consuming, but probably worth a try.

Just go extremely light on the flour, and also the handling. Think of it more like moving the mass gently rather than making a roll that forms together. Hard to explain.

Thing is, if you fry them, as I did, they won't fall apart as they would if boiled. And so even if you've gone a lot lighter on the flour than others would have, your chances of getting a light gnocchi (the Grail, yes?) are greater.

I think.

Wreader said...

Looks good! I'll take some of those seeds!