- 1 h 45 min
Fall has arrived, changing the landscape from bright green to orange, red to amber. Even the vegetable garden is a riot of vibrant colors, like the orange of the pumpkin. This delicious fall vegetable, which is particularly popular around Halloween, is especially known for its versatility in the kitchen, with recipes ranging from sweet treats like pumpkin pie to savory dishes such as baked pumpkin. Pumpkin gnocchi is, in fact, one of many possible variations on the traditional potato gnocchi, and these delicious little balls make a great fall first course with a delicate flavor. The dough is made from a few simple ingredients such as flour and pumpkin, and if you fancy a change from the classic butter and sage combination, you could always try serving your pumpkin gnocchi with a Taleggio sauce. What are you waiting for? Make the most of the season to enjoy the unmistakable taste of this wonderful vegetable and the soft, delicate yummy pearls.
To prepare the pumpkin gnocchi, start by boiling the potatoes: Cover them in plenty of water, salted to taste 1, bring to a boil and cook for 30-40 minutes, depending on their size, so they are soft but not flaking – a sign that they have absorbed too much water. You can check whether they are cooked by sticking a fork in them: If it goes in easily it means they are cooked. If you prefer, you could also bake the potatoes whole in their skins to remove the excess water and then remove them from their skins using a spoon to obtain the flesh you need for the recipe. While the potatoes are cooking, take the pumpkin and cut it into wedges, removing the seeds and pulp inside2. Remove the outer skin as well 3. You will need 12 oz (350 g) of flesh for this recipe.
Next, cut it into thin slices 4 and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper 5. Bake them in a conventional oven preheated to 390°F (200°C) for 15-20 minutes (or in a fan oven at 350°F (180°C) for 10-15 minutes) until they start to dry out slightly. This dries the pumpkin out enough to avoid water being released when preparing the gnocchi (you will get around 6.5 oz (185 g) of cooked pumpkin). After the necessary time has elapsed, turn off the oven and take the pumpkin out. By now, the potatoes will also be cooked and you will have the ingredients ready to prepare the pumpkin gnocchi. Knead the ingredients while they are still hot, especially the potatoes, so that the starches are not lost and the dough is sticky and easier to knead. Sift the flour onto a pastry board 6 and use your hands or a spoon to create the classic well in the middle.
Peel the potatoes while still hot. Pass them through a special potato ricer 7, seasoning the mixture with salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of nutmeg 8. Next, pass the pumpkin through the potato ricer 9 while still hot.
Knead the dough quickly using a pastry dough slicer 10 and beat an egg 11. Create a well in the middle of the dough once again and pour in the beaten egg 12.
Mix the egg into the dough using a fork 13 and work it using a pastry dough slicer 14 until the mixture is consistent. Knead the dough as little as possible and quickly. Work it into a patty and sift the starch 15 over it to soften it.
Knead the dough again quickly using a pastry dough slicer to mix in the starch 16 and finally work it into a ball 17. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes 18.
Once it has rested, dust the work surface with a little flour and take a small piece of dough. Work it into a baton and cut it into small bite-size pieces of around ½ inch to ¾ inch (1.5-2 cm) 19 in size. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Now, roll the gnocchi one at a time over the prongs of a fork or a gnocchi board to give them their classic ribbed surface 20, placing each one on a floured tea towel 21 once shaped. Your pumpkin gnocchi are now ready to be used! To use, cook one portion at a time in boiling water, allowing them to rise to the surface. As soon as they surface, remove them with a slotted spoon, drain thoroughly, and enjoy!
It is best to eat pumpkin gnocchi freshly cooked. If you’ve cooked them in advance, place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Pumpkin gnocchi can also be frozen if you have used only fresh ingredients rather than defrosted: simply arrange the pumpkin gnocchi on a tray and place in a freezer, then after a few hours, once frozen, remove them and put them in a freezer bag. This will prevent the pumpkin gnocchi from sticking together during the freezing process.
The trick to making good pumpkin gnocchi is to use the right ingredients: red-skinned potatoes and a Mantuan pumpkin (which has relatively dry flesh) are perfect for this recipe. If you need to adjust the consistency of the dough because the potatoes absorb a lot of water, be careful not to add too much flour because you then run the risk of your gnocchi being too stodgy and rubbery once cooked. These gnocchi are ideal served with a simple butter and sage dressing.