Pumpkin Potato Gnocchi

Pumpkin gnocchis with teaspoon
'Tis the pumpkin season and if you are looking for things to do with your leftover Halloween pumpkins, then this is the recipe to make. Even people who aren't called Peter, Peter, The Pumpkin Eater, and who aren't that fond of pumpkin will love these deelicious little balls.

This is not my creation, but one I found in a book called „Second Helpings of Roast Chicken“ by Simon Hopkinson. I generally change recipes so much that they barely resemble the original, but I stuck really closely to this one and it was super. I really did what “Simon says“...

And we were not disappointed. These gnocchis take a bit of time to prepare, but they are great. I chose to follow the recipe quite closely because of previous gnocchi disasters. I once made little stones in place of fluffy gnocchi and on another occasion, they dissolved completely in the water and we had soup instead of gnocchi…

I served mine with beef fillet and green beans as part of the main course, but you could serve them as Simon recommends. So without further ado, here is Simon Hopkinson's recipe.

Butter browned gnocchis with my cat!

Serves 4

1 kg wedge of deseeded pumpkin, skin attached
350g peeled potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 whole Amaretti biscuits – that's 4 halves after unwrapping (Me: See Note 1)
50g freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for the table
Salt and pepper
100-140g plain flour ('00' Italian pasta flour for preference) (Me: I had no Italian...)
100g butter
2 large cloves garlic, crushed (Me: oops, forgot these!)
12 or so sage leaves

Note 1: I didn't have any Amaretti biscuits so I used 4 small plain biscuits instead.

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4.
2. Cut the pumpkin into large rough cubes (with the skin still on) and place in a baking tin. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Switch off the oven, remove the foil and leave in the oven for another 40 minutes or so, to dry out. Meanwhile steam the potatoes until very tender. Pass them though a vegetable mill (mouli-légumes) on to a tea towel or sheet of greaseproof paper to dry out also. (Me: I boiled them, drained them well, and left them to dry in the pot before mashing them with a fork.)
3. Cut the skin off the pumpkin, pile the flesh into a tea towel and squeeze out as much juice as possible. Place the flesh in a food processor with the Amaretti biscuits, Parmesan and a little seasoning and purée until smooth. (Me: I didn't bother with the squeezing in a tea towel bit and mashed it with a fork and crumbled the biscuits by hand.) Tip out on to a floured surface and add to it the potato. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil.

Gnocchi dough

4. Now, little by little, sift over the flour (you will certainly need the full 100g and maybe a little more), working it into the pumpkin and potato with your fingers using a gentle kneading movement, until the mixture feels like scone dough with a trace of stickiness and a uniform pale orange colour throughout. Tear off large pieces and roll each into long sausage shapes, about the thickness of a chipolata. Cut off small lozenges with a sharp knife and put aside. (Me: I added the flour all at once and didn't work the dough too much. I added ore flour while rolling to stop the stickiness. I tore off little pieces and rolled them into balls and then left them to dry for at least a half hour. BUT before you go any further this is a piece of advice from me: make one or three gnocchis, and do a test run in the boiling water to be sure they don't fall apart. You don't want to do the whole batch and then find you need to add a bit more flour as they fell apart. I put a tiny pan of water on and test a couple just to be sure...)

Gnocchi sausage

5. Drop the gnocchi into the pan of gently boiling water, a dozen or so at a time. Once they float to the surface, allow them to poach for a further 30 seconds or so, lift out with a slotted spoon, drain well and put on a plate. (BIG NOTE from me: I found 30 seconds too little and poached mine for 3 minutes. Try yourself in the test phase I mentioned above and see what you think.) Keep warm while you cook the rest. (Me: I let mine get cold and then continued later when my guests were seated.)
6. Gently heat the butter and garlic until the garlic is tinged a light gold. (Me: I forgot this bit, but will try it next time!) Remove it and then add the sage leaves. Briefly fry until crisp and until the butter as begun to take on a straw colour. Divide the gnocchi between 4 hot plates and spoon over the butter and sage leaves. Hand freshly grated Parmesan separately.

Cooked gnocchi without the cat!

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