Friday, March 23, 2012

Yummy Pumpkin Gnocchis

Yummy Gnocchis
I love pumpkin and butternut squash. This vegetable is so versatile, takes on flavours and can be used in savoury as well as in sweet dishes. Dennis Cotter has many lovely recipes in all his books (in Seasons he has a pumpkin gratin which is just to die for). Pumpkin Gnocchis are one of my favourite dishes, you can do many things with it, I like it baked with a sage cream and parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin Mash

Making gnocchis can be quite difficult (tried potato gnocchis once and they dissolved when I threw them into the water) - the balance between flour and pumpkin is very important to get right as you want to taste the pumpkin and not the flour. Also, the pumpkin mash must be totally cold before adding the flour and forming the little dumplings. The water must be boiling when you add the gnocchis and make sure not to overcrowd the pot as the little beauties will be sticking together.
Cooked Gnocchis

This dish might seem to be a bit of an effort - and to be honest, it is - but it is well worth it. You don't have to use the sage cream. Make a cider sauce or even tomato based sauce. You don't have to bake it at all. Just serve some sage butter with the cooked pumpkin. All these combinations are just wonderful with the gnocchis.

I haven't any measurements this time as it all depends on the size of the pumpkin. When adding the flour, take a bit of the mashed pumpkin and try to form a walnut size little ball and see if it sticks together. If it does stop adding flour. Also seasoning is totally up to you, I personally like the flavour of the pumpkin itself, so I never add too much salt. I am using parmesan here as I had it at home. Gabriel cheese works perfectly if you want to use an Irish cheese.

You will need

1 pumpkin

Fresh sage, chopped
shallots, finely chopped
125ml dry white wine
200ml cream

Preheat the oven to 140C. Peel the pumpkin and cut into chunks and place onto a roasting tin (don't cover in oil as you need the pumpkin to be dry). Keep an eye on it as you want it roasted, not burned. Turn once or twice. Put cooked pumpkin into a bowl, add parmesan cheese (no need for salt as the cheese will add all the salt you need) and mash it up. Make sure not to pound the pumpkin as this might extract moisture from the flesh - you need the pumpkin to be as dry as possible. Leave to cool completely.

When cold, bring a pot of water to the boil. Start mixing in the flour bit by bit and test if it holds when you try to form a walnut sized dumpling. If not, add more flour but be careful not to overdo it. When you think you got it right, drop the gnocchi into the boiling water (if it doesn't dissolve straight away, you got it). The gnocchi will float to the top when cooked. Continue with the rest of the mixture (you need to do that in batches so that you don't over crowd the pot). Place cooked gnocchis in an oven-proof dish (you can use them straight away with any sauce or bake them as below).

Heat the butter in a frying pan and add the shallots. Fry until translucent but not coloured. Add the chopped sage and stir until the aroma of the sage is released. Add the white wine and let it bubble away until reduced by half (you might need to increase the heat to bring it to a boil). When reduced, add the cream and cook until the sauce thickens a bit. Strain and pour over the gnocchis. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese and bake for 15 mins.

Bon Appetit

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