Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter & Feta

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!

Comments

  1. says

    What beautiful gnocchi! That gnocchi board definitely does the trick. I’ve had pumpkin pasta on the brain for a few weeks–it’s time to get on that for sure. I get the fat comment all the time, too. My friends think all we eat is pie!

    I’d be interested in those beet breakfast wraps you mentioned. I want to get into beets! That may have been motivated by that shrub recipe from Martha that I showed you. And Nigel Slater’s beet cake, too.

    • says

      I would actually really love to do a post on the beet breakfast wraps. They’re so tasty, and I’ve been eating them almost every day for the past year! I’ve thought a post many times, but I keep getting hung up on the fact that I’m not quite sure how I’d photograph them in a appealing way, since they usually just wind up looking like a big pink mess inside. They’re a repurposing of this dish, except I saute everything and scramble the egg. So good!

  2. says

    Found your site thanks to The Daily What posting about homemade Sriracha, and I have to say, you’ve got a damn nice site. I want to make all the things now. I’m taking inspiration from your images too and think I will start taking my own, great pictures. Thanks, and cheers!

    • says

      Thank you, Kankana! I feel the same way about pasta, and my love for it gets kind of out of control once fall hits. It’s literally ALL I’ve been able to think about for the past month. :)

  3. says

    Ok, so I just found your blog through Foodgawker and am so glad that I did! Not only is your food beautiful, but this post about gnocchi had me laughing out loud…not in the maniacal way, just in the haha funny way. ;) Love your style lady!

  4. says

    Pumpkin gnocchi is something I have been wanting to make. It is right behind pumpkin risotto which is going to be attempted this weekend. Thanks for the video link on how to use the gnocci board!

    • says

      That’s probably the most helpful 30-second video I’ve ever seen! I’ve been making an effort to use pumpkin more in savory dishes, and risotto was on the list of possibilities. I’ll keep an eye out for yours. :)

  5. says

    These gnocci are just gorgeous! I have had some pretty epic gnocci failures myself. The worst was the first time I attempted it and, rather than putting the gnocci, painstakingly rolled over the tines of a fork, in a single layer, I piled them up into a big pyramid on a plate which I left in the fridge for several hours. When I got around to cooking the what I had was one giant gnocci. At that point (people are sitting at the dinner table) what I should have done is tossed it out and just boiled up some spaghetti noodles or something to go with the sauce. Instead, I tried to cook it, mixed the resulting mush up with the sauce, and served it to my guests. They were so polite about it. Anyways, lesson learned, and I’ve had gnocci successes since, but also failures. My last attempt at pumpkin gnocci was a failure as well (though one that I had the good sense not to serve to my dinner guests this time), so I’m excited about trying again. And I need an excuse to bust out the gnocci board I brought back from Italy this summer. Thanks for the recipe and gorgeous photos!

    • says

      Oh no!!! They are sticky little bastards, aren’t they? I had a slightly similar experience recently, after seeing an episode of No Reservations where Anthony Bourdain went to Italy and watched a woman make fresh pasta by rolling it out into a giant sheet, then folding it over several times and slicing it — winding up with long strips of fettuccine. I insisted on doing the same thing for a pasta night (completely forgetting that I bought a pasta chitarra for the purpose of easily making spaghetti/fettuccine), but didn’t flour the dough enough before folding it. And as I cut it, things got smushed together and I wound up with big pasta chunks that I had to carefully peel apart. Most survived, but it took FOREVER.

  6. says

    This looks beautiful, but I’m sure it takes some work to get there. I’m a big fan of simple foods that let the quality of each ingredient shine. This one lets me sneak some more cheese into my meals, hehe.

  7. says

    I have been meaning to make pumpkin gnocchi for about a year now, I really wanted to get to making them last fall but somehow forgot every time I had some time on hand to spend on making something more elaborate.

    I think I need to make them soon, or I forget again and have to wait another year.

    I love the crumbled feta on top. The sage/brown butter combination is classic, but I never it would have never occurred to me to add feta on top.

    • says

      Hehe, I know how that can be, Lena. :) I meant to give them another try last year after I royally screwed them up, but then I found a bunch of other things to do instead.

      The crumbled feta definitely makes the dish! It gives it a nice, salty punch.

  8. says

    Ha! I just had a similar “fat” conversation with my mother. She seems to think I’ve become a horrible glutton since starting a cooking blog when I might post one somewhat decadent meal a week. I’m not eating like that everyday though, there’s a lot of not-blog-worthy sautéed kale and quinoa salads in between. Just discovered your site- it is beautiful and your recipes, especially this one, sound delicious!

  9. says

    Hey! I noticed you visited my site, I wrote about this post because I’m actually planning on making it tonight! But I hope you approve, I linked back to your site and gave you photo credit, but if you have an issue with the post, I’ll revise it. Thank you for stopping by!!

  10. Mariana says

    I just made a huge batch of these for thanksgiving (putting them in the fridge overnight), without ever tyring gnocchi of any sort. cooked up a small sample to test tonight — so good! I’ve amazed myself! Then again, I’m not sure what gnocchi is supposed to be like.

    Still. Thanks! I love the site and want to make ALL THE FOODS (and drinks)

    • says

      Woohoo! It sounds like you had a good first experience with gnocchi, because you’d definitely know if you got it wrong. I say if it tastes good, then it’s a success. :)

      Happy Thanksgiving, Mariana!

  11. says

    Thank you soooo much for this! I made the today, for Thanksgiving as well, and they’re wonderful! I made them the centerpiece of my vegetarian feast and they were a big hit with most of the family. Not very difficult to make either. Bennissimo!

    Off to look up your pumpkin muffin recipe…

  12. says

    Finally made this tonight after saving it months ago – what took me so long?! (Oh, right, may have had something to do with my newborn baby.) It was SOOO yummy! I added Parmesan instead of Feta, because my kids prefer it, and within 10 minutes the pot was empty and every plate was clean! Next time, I’m doubling it. :)

  13. Johanna says

    Good morning from Germany! Is is weird to plan dinner at 08:00 in the morning and even before breakfast?? Anyway: your recipe and I are having a date tonight and it will end up in my tummy! :) Thanks for the great description and yummy photos! And I have to say I absolutely love your writing, SO FUNNY! I just found your blog and I’ll be around more often!!

    Johanna

    • says

      Thank you, Johanna! And there is absolutely nothing wrong with planning breakfast at 8:00 in the morning. No joke: It’s so chilly here this morning that I was hesitant to get out of bed, so I spent another 15 minutes lying there, thinking about what to make for dinner tonight. Then I finally got up, made some coffee, and sat down at my computer, and was greeted by your comment. It gave me a good laugh. :)

  14. Johanna says

    Oh I know that problem of getting out of bed when it is so nice&cozy under the blanket and so cold outside! It has something absolutely comforting to lay in bed and think about food.. as a distraction from a stressful day in the night or as a wake-up helper in the morning.. I’m glad it is the weekend now and there will be time for a lot of baking and cooking in the next days :)

    But, to come to the main point: last nights pumpkin gnocchis were wonderful! The kitchen was a mess when I was done but it was absolutely worth it!

    A good Friday and a relaxing weekend to you!

    Johanna

  15. Lena says

    Good afternoon from Germany (seems like you’ve got a lot of fans over here)

    I found your blog yesterday and totally fell in love with it. I’ve already read through it twice – sorry for being a weirdo ;) Can’t stop thinking about these gnocchis. Do you think it’s possible to substitute all-purpose flour by whole spelt flour?

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes.

    Lena

    • says

      Hi Lena! I’m so glad you’re enjoyed my blog. :) (I totally do the same thing when I happen upon new blogs I love. I will obsessively read through everything!)

      I think you could definitely sub in spelt flour. It might make the dough slightly more touch/chewy, but I think it would still work well for gnocchi. (Better than it would for a normal pasta dough, which requires rolling and such.) Good luck, and let me know how it turns out! :)

  16. Helen says

    Hi, from NZ! Am just lining up to make gnocchi for dinner tomorrow night as an entree and wondered if I should be boiling the remaining gnocchi before freezing?

    Also, I have a fantastic pumpkin risotto recipe if you wanted a place to start. We use pumpkin as almost universally a savoury vegetable here (I believe Oz Is the same) as opposed to the sweet dessert flavour that is more common in the States. I have made and loved pumpkin pie but usually rate it as one of my top winter vegetables instead :-)

    • says

      Hi Helen! No need to cook the remaining gnocchi beforehand. You can just pop them in the freezer as is, then add them right to a pot of boiling water from the freezer when you’re ready to use them.

      I would LOVE to have your pumpkin risotto recipe! I remember another blogger from Australia telling me that they mostly use pumpkin as a savory ingredient over there, and I was very intrigued. I’d very much like to use it for more savory things, especially because it pairs so well with herbs and cheese. I look forward to giving that risotto a try! :)

      • Helen says

        Pumpkin Risotto

        Pumpkin (as much as you like)

        1 finely chopped Onion

        1 stick celery, finely chopped

        1 cup Arborio Rice

        4 cups of good chicken or vegetable stock

        1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

        1-2 tablespoons oil

        1/2 cup white wine

        Cardamom and cumin to taste (optional)

        Optional ingredients:

        2-3 boneless skinless chicken thighs chopped to 1-2cm cubes

        ½ smoked chicken breast

        ½ c frozen peas

        2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

        1/2 head of broccoli

        Peel and chop pumpkin into small cubes and fry in a non-stick pan in oil. Stir occasionally and after approx. 5 minutes, add chopped onion, celery and rice. Stir and fry till rice is heated through. Add wine and reduce til liquid is almost gone. Add stock bit-by-bit to rice mixture and stir and reduce down before adding the next amount of liquid – 4-6 lots of liquid until all 4 cups has been used and cooked down.

        Serves 2, but halving the quantities of rice and stock works well too.

        Optional Ingredients

        If using chicken thighs, add with onion, etc and just brown (don’t cook through thoroughly) before adding rice and rest of recipe. If using broccoli, cut small florets off and chop stems etc finely. Add stems with celery & onion and small florets with last of stock. All other optional ingredients should be added just before the last of the stock to be heated through while the last of the stock reduces. 1 tablespoon of Parmesan finishes the recipe nicely but up to 2 more can be added for a cheesier flavour.

        Optional ingredients is a fairly long list in this recipe and I wouldn’t use them all in the same instance. Pick your flavours, such as pumpkin, chicken an pea, pea and broccoli, etc.

        As I said, this recipe should be a good place for you to start. Have fun and experiment :)

  17. says

    We had a batch of pumpkin gnocchi for dinner the other night. I used ricotta in the recipe too. They were delicious, but trying to get the correct consistency is almost impossible to explain. I may try your salting overnight routine.

    These look fabulous by the way.

    Dave.

    • says

      Thanks, Dave! I totally know those gnocchi consistency woes. Just a little bit too much liquid can make things go all wrong, and it seems like nothing will fix it. Starting with as little as possible seems to be the key, since you can always add more if you need to.

Trackbacks

  1. […] It’s been a while since I wrote about pumpkin, which is extremely odd considering tis the season for pumpkin flavors, so to make amends, I found a recipe that looks just as delicious as it tastes. You would be surprised how easy it is to make gnocchi, it just takes a little patience. Also, there are no obscure ingredients; there’s a good chance that you have a majority of the ingredients in your kitchen cabinet already. So what are you waiting for?! The recipe for this delicious meal, along with other great recipes, can be found here. Bon appétit! […]

  2. […] West 3. Discovering two new-to-me cocktails bars: Tales & Spirits and Bar Oldenhof 4. Making pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter and feta 5. More inspiration to Eat Seasonably 6. Appreciating the photo stories in the just-released […]

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