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Nov 23

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter!

Every now and then, it’ll occur to me that I should try to cook something that isn’t breakfast or dessert.

Meals that include things like meat and vegetables really aren’t my forte. So in the past, my efforts at dinner-ish food have had mixed results. But that doesn’t stop me from trying!

When the thought occurred to me the other day, I happened to have the October issue of Bon Appetit on my coffee table. Inside was a recipe for butternut squash gnocchi. I love gnocchi! And I like butternut squash, too. But we’ve kind of been on a pumpkin kick around here, so I thought it’d be appropriate to make pumpkin gnocchi instead. (I also figured it’d be easier to open a can of pumpkin than to roast and puree a fresh squash.)

The thing I always forget when I take on recipes of a dinner-ish nature is … I don’t have the patience for that sort of thing. I’m not sure why. I can spend hours happily squeezing tiny dots of icing onto sugar cookies and sprinkling nonpareils over swirls of buttercream, but ricing potatoes and rolling balls of gnocchi dough over the tines of a fork — utter torture.

Which is why I gave up on this batch of gnocchi after forking a quarter of the dough. (There’s no way “forking” is proper gnocchi-making terminology, but it sounds funny so I went with it.)

But that portion of gnocchi that I managed to prepare before becoming bored out of my mind — delicious! And brown butter is pretty much my favorite thing ever these days, so I enjoyed the gnocchi that much more.

This recipe isn’t difficult at all — unless you’re like me, and you find repetitive food-preparation tasks mind-numbing. If that’s the case, the part where you are actually forming the gnocchi might make your head explode. Looking at this gnocchi how-to slideshow helped a little. Normal people shouldn’t have a problem.

Random aside: Several hours after making the gnocchi, I suddenly found myself craving a bowl of cereal. I went to Vons to buy some, because the Life cereal in my cupboard was stale, and ended up with a box of Cap’n Crunch. It wasn’t until I was eating a bowl that I realized what had happened: Cap’n Crunch looks a lot like gnocchi. I was, like, subliminally influenced by my dinner!

America's favorite pumpkin.I've never bothered to grate my own nutmeg before. It's not difficult!Fresh sage!
Here's what a potato looks like after you rice it. Pumpkin, parmesan, nutmeg, egg and salt, chillin' while I rice the potato.Mixing the potato into the pumpkin mixture.
Here's the pumpkin gnocchi dough, rolled into a rope that's too thick. Oh well.My attempts at authentic-looking gnocchi. Rolling them off the tines of a fork is not easy.Here are my more-or-less properly formed gnocchi cooking in brown butter.

Recipe: Pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter

Adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2010

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 12- to 14-ounce russet potato, peeled and quartered
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided, plus extra for serving
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¾ cups (or more) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  1. In medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the potato until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. While the potato is still warm, press it through a potato ricer into medium bowl; cool completely. Measure 2 cups (loosely packed) riced potato (reserve remaining potato for another use).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin, potato, ½ cup Parmesan, egg, nutmeg and salt. (I used my stand mixer for this, stirring with the paddle attachment and then switching to the dough hook for the next step.)
  3. Gradually add 1¾ cups flour, kneading gently into mixture in bowl until dough holds together and is almost smooth. If the dough is very sticky, add more flour a tablespoonful at a time.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead gently but briefly just until smooth. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.
  5. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment and sprinkle lightly with flour. Roll 1 piece of dough out on a floured surface to make a rope about ½-inch thick. Cut the rope crosswise into ¾-inch pieces. Roll each little gnocchi along the back of fork tines dipped in flour, making ridges on 1 side, and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  6. Working in 2 batches, cook the gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, 15 to 17 minutes (the gnocchi may start floating to the surface before being fully cooked). Using a slotted spoon, return the gnocchi to the parchment-lined baking sheets. Let cool.
  7. Cook the butter in large heavy skillet over medium heat until golden, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sage and stir for 1 minute. Add the gnocchi to the skillet; cook until heated through and coated with butter, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter!

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