**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!**
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
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.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, mix together salt, nutmeg, and 1½ cups flour.
Pour onto large board.
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).
Cut the dough into six pieces. Using one piece at a time, make a “snake” from the dough, rolling it in a little flour.
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.
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.
Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve!
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.
*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.