All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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I used a 29 oz can of pumpkin for this recipe & it made a BOATLOAD of gnocchi. Gnocchi is pronounced “Nyawkki,” for those that are unsure.
At any rate – this recipe will produce three cookie sheets of raw gnocchi – like this:
I would say each of those sheets represents four very healthy servings. You might want to cut this recipe in half. Not wanting to turn orange from pumpkin consumption, I opted to freeze the bulk of these. To do that, I put the entire cookie sheet in the freezer & when the gnocchi were frozen solid, I chipped them off the cookie sheet & put them in individual zip lock bags – each containing a single serving. To cook frozen gnocchi – put them in boiling water directly from the freezer & boil until they float to the top. If you let them thaw first, they will become a gooey mess.
Another note, these gnocchi are vegan. In the past, I have made potato gnocchi & they required eggs. These do not & I like any opportunity to skip the use of eggs & dairy (though there is lots of dairy in two of the sauces). However, the resulting gnocchi were more dense than the potato variety – even though I was careful not to over flour them & even rolled & cut the dough while it was still a bit tacky. I am not sure if that is true because of the lack of eggs or maybe the wet pumpkin just combines differently than baked potato – but – just know these are pretty substantial – maybe even a tad chewy. I will make potato ones soon, which come out a bit lighter.
As to the sauces I made – I wanted to avoid the traditional fried sage & brown butter sauce, mainly because it is how pumpkin things are always served. These sauces might have photographed better with a white gnocchi beneath them (especially the green pistachio pesto which wasn’t pretty on the orange gnocchi) – so do not be thrown by the images here. I must confess, I underachieved in the photography department here partly because I had color combos that were not ideal and, primarily, because I had three different gnocchi to photograph & I wanted to EAT them before they got cold. I had my friend Mike taste all three sauces with me. He liked the lemony pistachio pesto & the orange cream best. I thought the orange cream was a tad sweet, despite the fact that there is no sugar added. Maybe the California Cutie I used was too sweet for this recipe – and a regular orange would have been better.
I liked the pumpkin cream sauce but, in the future, will add much more fried sage (which I can eat like chips). I liked the pistachio pesto – but I think it might be better served with a more neutral flavored gnocchi. All the sauces are VERY easy to make & all would do well over pasta – so – if they sound good to you but an hour of rolling gnocchi does not – just open a box of penne or something & use the sauces on that.
Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi
1 29 oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp nutmeg
5 1/2 – 6 cups flour
1/2 tsp each of S&P
On a floured surface or in a bowl – combine the ingredients, adding flour incrementally just until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead the dough for several minutes until it is soft & pliable.
OR – stick everything in your bread machine & run it on the pasta dough cycle. This is what I did.
Divide the dough onto sections about the size of a child’s fist & roll each out into snakes that are about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the snakes into pieces (under an inch) and either use them as they are or roll them over fork tines to get a texture or use this awesome tool I got on Amazon for a few bucks.
Let them rest on a lightly floured surface (or refrigerate) until you are ready to cook them.
To cook – simply boil water, add gnocchi & boil until they float to the surface. Drain & top with your sauce & devour!
Orange Cream Sauce
1 orange – zest & juice
2 TBS butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
S&P to taste
Zest the orange – set zest aside. Juice the orange – set juice aside.
Heat the butter in a sauce pan & add the zest – reserving some for garnish later. Let this cook on medium heat until it begins to thicken. Add the cream & cook until it begins to thicken. When it reaches a consistency you like – add S&P.
2 TBS butter
20 fresh sage leaves
1 small onion – diced
3 cloves garlic – minced
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup vegetable (or other) stock (I use water & veggie bouillon)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Heat butter with a little olive oil in a frying pan. When hot – add the sage leaves & fry for a minute of two – until they begin to brown. Drain on paper towels.
Add onion & garlic to the pan & saute until they soften. Add the pumpkin, stock & cream & simmer until it thickens. Reserve the fried sage to top the gnocchi as garnish.
2 cups fresh basil
2 garlic cloves
3/4 cup shelled, roasted pistachios
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 TBS lemon juice
1/4 olive oil
1 tsp each S&P (or to taste)
Blend all ingredients in a food processor to create a paste. Add water if you feel it is too thick.
To assemble your gnocchi, just top hot gnocchi with either the orange cream garnished with orange zest or the pumpkin-sage sauce & the crumbled, fried sage or with the pistachio pesto with some crushed pistachios as garnish. Get likkered up & gorge!