“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Gnocchi with a sage butter walnut sauce

Ciao a tutti!! I have been on a real pumpkin kick lately, for many many reasons. One, I purchased the most beautiful Cheese Pumpkin from FreshDirect, it was so big! I roasted it right away and pureed it all in my VitaMix. This pumpkin was so delicious, as I was scooping it out to put it away, I tried a little. Wow!! It had nothing in it; it was just all natural pureed pumpkin, but boy was it good; fresh and creamy, just perfect!! The second reason; even though you can buy pumpkin year round in a can, there is nothing like fresh pumpkin, it just tastes so good. I love it in the fall and winter. 

Eating a bowl of pumpkin soup on a chilly night or having a big stack of pumpkin pancakes on Thanksgiving morning, anyway you have it; there is just something about pumpkin that makes me happy. It’s probably because I save it for the Holiday time, that fantastic period right before Halloween all the way to the New Year.

So, more about the pumpkin!! I had SO much pumpkin puree; I knew I was going to be eating pumpkin for days, which was fine with me. I was already using it to make a Pumpkin Sausage Stew (will post in a few days!!), but now I had to figure out what else to do with it. Whatever would I make without getting tired of all this pumpkin?!! Well, how about some Pumpkin Gnocchi in a sage butter walnut sauce?

I LOVE making homemade gnocchi; it’s so ridiculously easy and fun!! The main thing with gnocchi that you have to careful about is that a)there is enough to hold them together so if you are boiling them, as oppose to pan frying, they don’t fall apart b)not use so much flour that they taste like rocks. It can be difficult to achieve the perfect gnocchi, but I know you can do it!! These are little, fluffy, light pillows, just the way gnocchi should be! I prepared these with a wonderful sage butter walnut sauce; it complements the pumpkin perfectly.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

1 cup pumpkin puree (you can obviously use fresh pumpkin puree or you can get it in the can, but make sure it is 100% pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling!)
¾ tsp. salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ cups of almond flour

Simply start by mixing your pumpkin puree, salt, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Sift in your flour and combine, do not over mix!!

Next, flour your hands and shape the gnocchi in your hands. I recommend the equivalent of a teaspoon size shape, do not handle excessively!! Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper and put the gnocchi on the parchment paper, put in the freezer to set for an hour.

Start boiling water in a pot, salt the water. Take the gnocchi out of the freezer and check that it is firm enough to start cooking. Once the water is boiling, carefully drop the gnocchi in the water, repeat with all of them. While the gnocchi is cooking, prepare another pan for your sauce…

Sage Butter Walnut Sauce

4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. walnuts

In a pan over medium heat, add butter, sage, thyme, salt, pepper and walnuts. All of the spices and herbs are to taste, so add what you like. Combine everything, do not let the walnuts burn!! When the gnocchi has finished boiling, add them to this pan with the sauce. Carefully toss so the gnocchi is coated with the butter sauce. Serve right away so they are nice, warm and fresh!! Buon Appetito!!