Eat Well: She did it all for the Gnocchi

**The following is a guest post by resident foodie/Limp Bizkit fan, WWW who last week returned home after two glorious weeks spent in Italy where she met many European men. Take it away, mom!**
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Larry and I just got back from Italia—specifically the magical Amalfi Coast and Sorrentine peninsula... land of pasta and pizza. Not to mention gelato! One of the treats of the trip was visiting a couple of farms, and at one farm, we cooked gnocchi—Italian dumplings.
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Here I am cooking gnocchi in a tre chic sweater! I am beyond adorable. Bananas.

Years ago I fell in love with this dish after eating it at a local Italian restaurant and immediately tried cooking it at home. I hadn’t cooked gnocchi in years, though, and had actually forgotten about it—but all the joy of making these little pillows came back to me in Italy as we kneaded the dough and shaped the gnocchi to be dropped into water.

Standard gnocchi is made from potatoes, flour, and sometimes eggs. But there are many variations (spinach and ricotta are two of my favorites). Since it is pumpkin season right now, I thought it would be fun to try pumpkin gnocchi—more vitamins and a fun fall dinner to make.

My first attempt was a disaster. The recipe called for too much flour and instead of soft pillows my gnocchi tasted like little rubber balls. But I tried a second time with less flour (and no eggs) and they turned out beautifully.

The trick with gnocchi is to add just enough flour for them to hold together. If you knead the dough too much or use too much flour, they become dense and heavy. The traditional way to serve pumpkin gnocchi is with sage butter, but I added mushrooms to it. Other sauces, such as pesto or fresh tomato sauce, are also delicious. You can use a fresh pumpkin (such as a sugar pumpkin) or canned pumpkin. And the kids will love to help make the gnocchi—it’s like playing with play dough! I didn’t use a gnocchi board, but you can buy one at Sur la Table.

After cutting the gnocchi, roll them down the board to give the traditional ridges. (The kids will love this part)

Gnocchi di Zucca (Pumpkin dumplings)
2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
2 cups flour
1 ½ cups parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup butter
½ pound mushrooms
10-15 sage leaves, chopped
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If you use a fresh pumpkin, cut a small sugar pumpkin in half and bake, flesh side down, for about 30-40 minutes at 350 or until soft. Scrape out pumpkin and put in a colander to drain. When cool and drained, mash until smooth.
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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, mix together salt, nutmeg, and 1½ cups flour.

Pour onto large board.
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Make a well in the middle of the flour and place pumpkin and Parmesan cheese in the well. Knead the flour gently into the pumpkin just until mixed. It should still be a little sticky (if too sticky, add a little more flour).
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Cut the dough into six pieces. Using one piece at a time, make a “snake” from the dough, rolling it in a little flour.
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Cut into ½ inch pieces and drop the pieces into the boiling water. They will fall to the bottom of the pan and then pop up to the surface. When they rise to the surface, remove them with a skimming ladle.
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Put in a dish and repeat until all the gnocchi are made.

Brown mushrooms and sage in butter in a large pan. Add gnocchi to pan and heat through.
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Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve!
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This dish reheats beautifully if there are leftovers (or if you want to cook it the day before!) Refrigerate gnocchi mixed with the sauce and the next day, cover and warm at 250 until heated through.

Hope you enjoy! And viva l’Italia!
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*Eating gelato with my Boo in Amalfi.

Love,
WWW

***

*Hi. GGC, here, I wrote the picture captions. My mom doesn't typically refer to my dad as her "boo"... that I know of. Also, her favorite band is not Limp Bizkit. I don't think.

45 comments:

Martha | 1:37 AM

Your mom is so beautiful! I would like to try and make gnocchi sometime - it is so awesome to see a recipe on a cooking blog that says "roast a pumpkin" rather than "open a can of pumpkin"

MAV | 2:39 AM

ha! i seriously was thinking- "shit, her mom uses more hip lingo than me."

these posts are so torturous for me. i miss my kitchen!! heck, i miss having the ability to do more than boil a kettle of water.

when my travels are over i'm going back through all your mom's guest posts!

Sydney | 3:11 AM

Aaaaaaaah! WWW, I love your posts so much and so excited you went to the Amalfi coast. It's where my family come from and where I spent 6 weeks every summer of my childhood. It's also my favourite place in the entire world. So, so, so beautiful. Please tell me you went to Ravello? And that you've never had a tomato or a lemon that tasted as good as there.

Vis a vis gnocchi, my favourite way is gnocchi alla sorrentina - tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. Simple and truly delicious.

Hope you had a fabulous holiday in Italy. Can't wait to hear more.

jolynn | 5:15 AM

Yay for the gnocchi recipe, and jealous of the awesome food processor!

Erin | 5:26 AM

YUM!!!!!

avb | 6:33 AM

I've never tried it with pumpkin. Love it though! Has WWW tried gnudi? They're like ravioli sans flour. Not only are they delicious, but I'd love to see what you'd do with the post title. Here's my favorite gnudi recipe: http://bit.ly/b3buJr

avb | 6:35 AM

I'm revising my comment. Not "sans" flour, but using semolina flour and a wee bit of white.

Amy D. | 7:00 AM

I am loving these recipes! Truth be told, I print them out then pass them to my husband. We have found love and appreciation for all things quinoa! Thanks for the recipe. Your mama is beautiful.

Wendy Woolf | 7:53 AM

Sydney, Yes!! We went to Ravello! It was my favorite town and we had a fabulous lunch at Cumpa Cosimo. And you are right about the lemons and tomatoes...DELICIOUS! By the way, you don't need to process the pumpkin in a processor...you can mash it just as easily.

Jessica | 8:02 AM

Delicious!

I have a question about the cheese: Is a vegetarian Parmesan being used? If yes, what brand is it? I have been unsuccessful in finding one.

Thanks!

Connie S. | 8:49 AM

I actually clapped my hands when I opened the blog today and saw this. I recently tried the salsa verde recipe and it worked marvelously, so I was ready and raring to try another one of your fabulous dishes.

So, gnocchi, yay!

Thank you for putting in the time and effort to share these dishes with all of us. It's such a joy to try something new.

Baby in Broad | 8:53 AM

Any suggestions for gluten-freeing these up? White rice flour and a little cornstarch, maybe?

Anonymous | 9:05 AM

WENDY - YOU ROCK!!!

Sydney | 9:29 AM

So glad you loved Ravello! I was going to mention Cumpa Cosimo in my comment but had forgotten what the official name is, we call it Netta's, after the woman who has run in for the last 30 years, she is wonderful.

The cooking on the farm sounds so great. Also now is the time for wine-making in that region too, did you get to squash any grapes with your feet?

Steph(anie) | 9:34 AM

gnocchi = heaven

Mrs. Q. | 9:35 AM

Love the title, and your parents are so adorable. That last photo made me well up: your dad's gray mustache reminds me of my dad.

Allison | 9:39 AM

I love your parents. They are beyond bananas adorable. What a lovely family you have.

Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher | 9:44 AM

i adore your recipe posts!

Polly | 10:44 AM

O my yum.

The captions were perfect. Bananas.

Polly | 10:46 AM

Oh and for Jessica - I've found a vegetarian Parmesean at Whole Foods. The Whole Foods brand, actually.

Glenda | 11:07 AM

Your mom is too cute. Italy! ahhhh we are planning a trip there next summer! I can't wait! Yummy food and gelato!

lisa | 11:23 AM

I love the WWW posts! All the recipes look great. I'm going to show this one to my husband and we'll probably make it next week!
Thanks!

Sabrina | 11:29 AM

Wonderful share! I would like to try and make a gnocchi for my hubby, he's going to love this.

Sara | 12:06 PM

it looks awesome. I will have to try it. I normally make potato, but never pumpkin. Also there is no need to buy a board, just roll the gnocchi down a fork as you drop them in the pot. It makes the traditional lines, and doesn't cost anything!

flyrish | 12:42 PM

The Amalfi coast is also one of my favorite places in the world! Wholeheartedly agree about the tomatoes and lemons there.

This would be an ambitious recipe for me, but I'd like to try it some day. Looks delicious!

Elle Vee | 1:14 PM

My family is Italian and we make these often (just made them on the weekend!!!). I most often do one baking potato per person to do potato gnocchi, or replace the equivalent of one potato with any squash I have lying around. We add one egg into ours and enough flour to hold together, but they are always light and fluffy.

The key (the SECRET!!!) mom has passed on to me is to sprinkle some semolina onto cookie sheets (or use non-stick sheets) and cover the cookie sheets with the freshly cut gnocchi, and then pop them into the freezer for at least 2 hours before you're going to cook them. Then, drop in them into rapidly boiling water from that frozen state and they will take no longer to cook, but they will stay intact and don't get mushy or broken. It's also great if you made a lot and don't need them all, just pop the frozen ones into a baggie after a few hours and keep the extras until you need them.

It's the best gnocchi tip ever, and they always turn out amazing!

Wendy Woolf | 1:37 PM

I LOVE all of your comments! Thank you, Elee Vee, for the great tips. And Baby in Broad, you can substitute gluten free flour for the flour...Since I am gluten free, I always use gluten free flour for everything. And my son, David, just called me and told me to try substituting the pumpkin for a blue Hubbard squash...they have a sweetness that would be great in this recipe. And as to the Parmesan cheese, any rennet-free hard cheese would work great...it needs to be hard, though.

therobynnest | 1:52 PM

I already have some serious mother envy but those captions nearly sent me over the edge. I was relieved to see that you wrote them and not your mother because I was on the verge of drawing up adoption documents. I'm 35.

verdemama | 2:22 PM

This looks so good! Next time I'm feeling ambitious I will definitely gnocchi this a try. Seeing WWW and dad eating gelato makes me want to go back to Italy so badly.

Those captions were cracking me up, btw! :)

Jessica | 4:25 PM

The captions were hilariously awesome, and the gnocchi looks deliciously comfort-foodish.

Nothing But Bonfires | 6:46 PM

This was the best title of any blog post EVER. EVER EVER EVER. You have outdone yourself. Also, I really do think our parents should be friends. They even live in the same town! Let's do it! Then I can come home for the weekend and my mum can cook me gnocchi. That she learned to make from your mum. Circle of life.

Anonymous | 9:41 PM

omg. your parents are ridiculously beautiful people. what a fabulous photo of them!!!

Anonymous | 3:17 AM

Perfect timing - I leave Saturday for three weeks in Italy, and intend to eat my way through the country.

Your parents are so hot. Can I say that?

Barbara

Ashley | 9:07 AM

I just made this and it made my apartment smell pretty yummy. I can't wait to try it! Thanks for the recipe! (And if I can make it, anyone can.)

Anonymous | 9:14 AM

European men video just made me spit my tea!

BlesstheFunk | 11:38 AM

This is one of my favorite posts... Dear WWW, you are FABULOUS. And, GGC, the title and captions made me laugh out loud, they did indeed. Will try this recipe soon, and also use Elle Vee's tips.

writtenbliss | 3:22 PM

OMG, I just made these with butternut squash instead of pumpkin and they are heavenly. I can't stop eating them! I'm worried there won't be any left for my husband when he comes home.

Marie-Ève | 8:08 AM

Awww. We went to Italy over the summer and I had one of the best meals of my life there: pumpkin gnocchi with walnuts and truffles. I'm still a little weepy thinking about it. Thanks so much for reminding me of it!

Michelle Maskaly | 1:37 PM

wow! that looks amazing and way easier than I thought it was going to be! I''m def going to try making these.

Rebecca | 4:18 PM

Thank you so much for the recipie! I just made these for myself and my two very picky children. They both gobbled it up. Yay Mom!!!

dietplaid | 7:55 PM

I've never had good gnocchi, but this post really makes me want to make a batch. Maybe when I go to my mother-in-law's this week. She's having surgery, so she's free of dinner duty :D

Amy | 8:22 AM

I made this last night and it was delicious and so fast to make too. I used canned pumpkin and it was fantastic. Much faster and tastier than regular gnocchi made with potato. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

jessica | 6:15 PM

thanks a lot, i've been sitting here for an hour watching all of the european men videos!!!! the disco one is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous | 7:00 PM

How difficult is it to eat gluten-free in Itlay? Re: last picture with your boo!! Are the waffle cones gluten-free? 'Cause that would be worth the trip!

Rebecca

jesseamber | 4:46 PM

My husband made this for dinner tonight and it was fabulous! He even ate a few mushrooms, which he usually hates. And he said it was really easy (he used canned pumpkin). Delish! Definitely adding to our list of fave meals, along with Quineuvos Rancheros!