I think one of the nicest things would have to be pillowy lumps of gnocchi smothered in sage butter. What I love about this recipe is that pumpkin is included, one of my many loves. I had never tried Stephanie Alexander recipes before this, and once I had made this simple and delicious dish I became a Stephanie convert. I especially love how you can experiment with the kinds of pumpkin or squash that you can use for this and you can get a variety of different flavours. I used onion squash and it was just delicious. Onion squash has a really nice perfectly smooth texture, brightness in colour and intense sweetness along with a nuttiness which I think it works well here. Although a lot of gnocchi recipes say to boil the pumpkin, I prefer roasting it covered with some foil.
Pumpkin (or onion squash) gnocchi with sage butter sauce
250g potatoes (desiree)
300g pumpkin, butternut or onion squash (any dry-flesh variety)
160g flour, plus extra for dusting
2 Tablespoons grated parmasan
20 large sage leaves
sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Peel the potatoes, cut into chunks then place into a saucepan with some salt, cold water, and cover generously. Bring to the boil and cook for about 15 minutes. Once they are tender, drain and set aside. Peel and deseed the pumpkin and weigh to ensure you have 250g cut into bite-sized chunks. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Sprinkle over a few sage leaves. Cover loosely with tin foil and bake in the oven for about an hour or until the pumpkin is soft and slightly browned at the edges.
Using a potato ricer, add the pumpkin and potato and squash through into a bowl. Sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and add some pepper. Sieve most of the flour over the vegetable mound and quickly but lightly combine. Knead briefly till the dough is smooth, using more flour if necessary. Be careful not to over knead because this will kill the pillow-like nature of your gnocchi. Cut the dough into four pieces and with your fingers, roll each into a sausage 2cm-3cm wide. Cut each ‘sausage’ into pieces 2cm long and place on a floured baking tray. Fill a large pan with water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and drop in as man gnocchi as will fit in a layer. Adjust the heat to a simmer. When the gnocchi rises to the surface (after 3 minutes), lift out with a slotted spoon and place into a warmed serving dish. Return to the oven to keep warm after each batch of gnocchi.
To make the butter sauce, add butter to a non-stick frying pan and fry the sage leaves till crisp. Check the butter has become a medium-brown colour and spoon over the gnocchi. Serve with parmesan grated over the top.
This recipe was adapted from ‘Pumpkin gnocchi with sage-butter sauce’ published in The Independent, 28 August 2008.