Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cooking for the Long Winter, Part I: Pumpkin Gnocchi

It's funny, you know, to think of how our schedules, situations and climate affect how and what we cook. Now that the holidays are over, we're staring out ahead into the long winter. And this has lead me, of late, to cook warming meals that take a longer time to make. My schedule has been more varied the last couple of weeks and I have found myself interested in tackling some bigger - not to mention delicious - meals that I don't make often. This is the first of two.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Sage

J and I opted to stay in on New Year's Eve again this year. Knowing that we would have the whole evening ahead anticipating the ball drop, I took the opportunity to make pumpkin gnocchi. I have made this dish about once a year for the past few years, in the fall, and enjoyed every bit of it. I don't have the exact source of the recipe, but it was likely provided by the good folks at Harmony Valley Farms, the CSA I participated in a few years back. Also, this Martha Stewart recipe is pretty similar.


2 1/4 C pumpkin puree, divided
2 C bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 C unsalted butter (half a stick)
1/2 onion, diced 
8 oz. mini portabella mushrooms, sliced
10 sage leaves, roughly chopped
1 C chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 C heavy cream
scant 1 C grated Parmesan cheese, divided, plus more for garnish. 


Place the flour in a bowl and add the salt and nutmeg. Whisk to combine. 

Dump flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Place the pumpkin puree and 1/2 C parmesan in the well and begin incorporating the flour into the pumpkin. Once the dough is starting to come together, knead a few times. 

Divide dough into six equal sized pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a cylinder, about 1 inch in diameter. Cut into pieces, about 1/2 inch long (doesn't have to be exact, just think of it as making gnocchi the size you want to eat - keep in mind the will expand a bit in cooking). Cover the dough you're not using and any cut gnocchi pieces with a clean towel to prevent anything from drying out. You can further mold the pieces or press with the tines of a fork to make lines - none of this is necessary, unless you're trying to make the gnocchi look prettier. 

Fill a large stock pot with water (about 6 qts), add salt and bring to a boil. Drop in the gnocchi and stir once so they don't all stick to the bottom. When they float to the top (after about 2 min), use a slotted spoon to remove them and place them in a colander over a bowl.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms and sage and cook a few more minutes, until mushrooms are starting to release liquid and cook a bit. Add the remaining 1/4 C pumpkin puree, broth, cream and 1/4 C Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Add the cooked gnocchi to the skillet and stir to coat. Spoon onto plates or bowls and finish with extra Parmesan  salt, pepper, nutmeg and sage. 

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