Pumpkin Gnocchi

Gnocchi, humble little Italian dumplings, that when made right, taste like soft and fluffy pillows of dough. Tis the season for pumpkins so I got inspired to make Pumpkin Gnocchi!I often make butternut squash gnocchi during the fall season and lately I’ve been making a huge pan as a pasta side for Thanksgiving, and let me tell you, everyone of them gets eaten up!

I made my pumpkin gnocchi exactly the way I make my butternut squash gnocchi, all I did was replace the pumpkin for the butternut squash, so feel free to interchange them.
Here’s a link to a class I taught on making them.

I bought a sweet little pumpkin from Trader Joe’s, the kind you can make a pie with, cut it in half, seeded it and roasted it until tender. After it cools down, scoop out the flesh. You’ll notice that the pumpkin flesh is a little stringy, but that’s ok, because it all gets whirled in a food processor.
The key to a nice dough is not to overwork it too much, you might have to add a little more flour as you go but in the end it should feel semi firm to the touch.
I just love the color, it’s truly the most perfect autumn meal! Every bite is flavored inside with freshly grated parmesan cheese, they’re so addicting!
They’re ridiculously easy to make, no skills required, they don’t have to be perfect looking, in fact all you need is just a little patience!
They take only a few minutes to cook and then they’re ready to be sauced!
Speaking of sauce I wanted to try something different other than the traditional brown butter and sage so I searched and found this sauce inspired by Chef Frank DeCarlo.Saute 2 shallots in 1/2 stick of butter** add 1 bunch of sage and cook until shallots are golden** deglaze with 1/2 cup of chicken stock** whisk in 1/4 cup of pumpkin/ butternut squash puree, and 1/2 cup of cream** finish by adding 1/4 cup of grated parmesan, then season with salt and pepper.**
Luscious!

Ingredients for Gnocchi

  • 2 cups of  pureed butternut/ pumpkin squash
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 2+ cups flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half. Remove the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay cut side down on parchment lined baking sheet. Roast the squash until soft—30 minutes or so.
  2. Scoop the flesh of the squash out and place it in the food processor. Puree until completely smooth.
  3. Mix the pureed squash with parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and eggs. Then add the flour into the mixture and work together by hand. It will be very sticky.
  4. Once smooth, flour work surface, Divide dough into 6 pieces and then roll each piece into a long strip, about ½ inch wide. Cut the strip into ¼ to ½ inch pieces.
  5. Using a gnocchi board, a fork, the back of a grater or just as is to create ridges. Place each piece on the floured wax paper and repeat with the rest of the dough.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Boil until all the gnocchi floats—about 5 minutes.
  7. While gnocchi is cooking have your sauces ready so you can toss right in, if not you can freeze them single layer on a baking sheet, when frozen place into bags.
From humble dumpling to mouthwatering perfection!
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Pumpkin Pastina

In many Italian households children are first introduced to pasta by way of pastina. Pastina literally means “little pasta”. Today you can find shapes of many different forms, from tiny dots to stars, alphabets, and many more.
My own kids grew up with pastina, simply made with a little butter, and grated cheese. To this day it’s the kind of comfort food that they still crave every once in a while, and so do I!

When I first saw this recipe in Michael Chiarello’s cookbook…The Tra Vigne… All my fond memories of pastina came rushing back. I just had to make this! Tiny pastina cooked in a warm broth flavored with onion, & thyme. Adding to that, creamy parmesan cheese, and roasted butternut squash! I can barely describe how good this is, it almost didn’t make it to the table, you will be tempted to eat it right over the stove with a spoon!

By all means, you don’t have to serve it in a pumpkin, but the presentation is great, and very festive for this time of year. And besides, you have to roast your butternut squash, so why not do it all on the same baking sheet! This recipe serves four, and the pumpkin I used was one of those small ones about 6 or 8 inches round. I was going to use the green one in the photo too, but decided against it. Just cut the top, scoop out the seeds, oil it inside and out, and season with salt and pepper. Place the lids back on the top when baking them.

For the butternut squash, I just cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, oil it inside and out, salt and pepper, and place it cut side down on baking sheet.
Both will cook at 375F for about 40 min’s. You want your pumpkin still firm enough to stand, so depending on what size you use, you might want to check it.
NOTE: Do all of this earlier in the day to get it out of the way, the pastina cooks up fast.

This has nothing to do with the recipe at all, but I just wanted to show you the beautiful colors that were on these leaves that I saw, while taking a walk the other day! I just love the fall colors!!!

Michael added turkey in his, and cooked the pastina like risotto, adding the broth little by little. I didn’t do that. You certainly could add turkey to it if you like, for a more heartier meal. I didn’t do that either. I might however, use his suggestion to chiffonade some chard or spinach into it next time.


FOR THE PASTINA:
In a pot, saute about 1 cup of onion in olive oil season with salt and pepper and fresh thyme.
Pour in 4 cups of stock (I used chicken) and bring to a gentle boil.
When stock is boiling pour in 3/4lb. of your dry pastina or any small pasta.
When al dente, fold in about 1 cup of your roasted butternut squash that has been scooped out, and 1/2 cup of good parmesan cheese. Season it to taste with salt and pepper.
The consistency should be loose, so you might want to add more stock to it, so have extra on hand.

Buon Appetito!!!
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