As I begin to write this post (which appears on the heels of homemade nutella, said nutella crammed inside doughnut muffins, the delicious love child of ravioli and perogies, and absurdly sticky cinnamon buns), I feel compelled to emit a little bit of maniacal laughter. This is because of a chat I had with a far-away friend the other week, who said to me in the midst of our conversation: “Oh, do you know what C said to me the other day? He asked if you were fat!” As I thought about this later, browsing through my previous posts, I had to giggle a little. If you only had this blog as a guide to my diet, you’d have to assume that I subsist primarily on pasta, ice cream, and soda/booze. Which isn’t exactly UNtrue, I just tend to filter out the boring healthy stuff. Not that healthy food is inherently boring, but my versions kind of are. Beet breakfast wraps. Quinoa with soy sauce and peas. Do you really want to see these things? Maybe you do. But there’s no time! Because right now, I have pumpkin freakin’ gnocchi, all pan-fried up in some butter and covered with herbs and cheese. And it’s stupid good. Your pants will forgive you. Mwahahahaha.
After a handful of failed attempts at gnocchi over the past few years, I am thrilled to have finally made a successful batch. All previous failures were totally my fault — I was too impatient waiting for the potatoes to cool, or I didn’t take into account the amount of water in the squash purée I was using, etc. This time, I took a deep breath, used my brain, and did things right. And I was rewarded. Success tastes amazing, especially when it’s fried in butter.
Now, when you make these, you’re going to have to use your best judgement when it comes to the consistency of the pumpkin purée. Canned pumpkin tends to be a little less watery than homemade purée, but this might not always be the case. A good guideline for consistency is to make sure you use pumpkin that isn’t liquid-y enough to “pour,” if that makes sense. Mine was the consistency of mashed potatoes. If you need to remove some of the water, you can cook the purée down in a pan, or (if you have the time), you can add some salt and then place it in a sieve lined with cheesecloth, suspended over a bowl, and let the whole thing sit in the fridge overnight. (I wasn’t taking any chances, so I did both.)
I also went the extra mile and used my gnocchi board to shape the pasta. In the past, I’ve used a fork or just left them as little pillow-shaped squares. Both of these methods work fine, and the end result is still just as delicious. The gnocchi board takes a little time (although it’s not nearly as tedious as using a fork), but once you get the technique down, things progress quickly. And the end result is gnocchi-looking gnocchi! If you aren’t familiar with the technique, I’ll just direct your attention to this video, rather than trying to explain it. (I had no idea you smushed them down the board that way. Thank god for video tutorials.)
If making gnocchi seems like a rather tedious task, think about it like this: You can make a double/triple/quadruple/(need I go on?) batch, then freeze whatever you won’t eat right away. Once you have a freezer stocked with them, all it takes is a few minutes in some boiling water, and a few more minutes in a hot buttery pan. I LOVE stocking my freezer with pasta, especially because I usually forget it’s there and don’t eat it right away. Then one day, when I’m starving and there appears to be nothing to eat in the house, I’ll rummage through everything until I happen upon the delights I’ve hidden in the freezer. Pasta is always an awesome find, especially when you’d resigned yourself to the fact that you’d have to eat cereal for dinner.
Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter & Feta
(adapted from Foodess)
yield: 5–6 dozen
- 1 cup of pumpkin purée
- 1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese, pulsed in a food processor until finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (plus more, as needed)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp coarse smoked sea salt (I highly recommend smoked sea salt if you can find it! If not, normal sea salt is fine. If you aren’t using coarse salt, reduce this to 1 tsp.)
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup of fresh sage, minced
- crumbled feta, as needed
Combine pumpkin, parmesan, egg yolk, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl and mix together. Stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough begins to come together. Turn out on a floured surface and knead briefly, until dough is smooth and soft.
Cut dough into four pieces. Take one and cover the remaining three with a damp tea towel. Roll dough out into a rope approximately 1 inch thick, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Shape pieces on a gnocchi board or fork, then set aside and repeat with remaining dough.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook until they begin to float, then drain and set aside. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then stir until butter begins to brown. Add sage, then add gnocchi and cook until nicely browned on each side.
Remove from pan, top with crumbled feta, and serve!