There are too many words in this post title. I’ve made peace with that fact. (It’s just that THEY’RE ALL IMPORTANT, you know? [P.S. I compromised and left "cilantro" out of the title. But that's in there too, guys. And it's important. I also pan-fried the gnocchi, but I think the photos say that clearly enough. Plus you regular readers know I ALWAYS pan-fry my gnocchi and ravioli, so that's probably just assumed at this point. Do you like it when parenthetical text makes up most of a paragraph? I do. It's kind of like the sidebar of the blog world.])
I sang the praises of the kabocha squash last week when I made these doughnuts, and now I’d like to talk about using it in savory dishes. Truth be told, as wonderful as kabocha is in desserts (better than pumpkin, dare I say?), I always gravitate towards its savory applications. Its sweetness is the perfect complement to dishes with a bit of heat, my favorites being things like soups and curries. So when I started thinking about a kabocha pasta dish, my mind wandered to a weird “fusion” place. And before I knew it, there was curry powder in my gnocchi.
Admittedly, I wasn’t too sure about this decision. I mean, curry powder IN pasta? But it seemed meant to be, since the idea entered my brain and then I remembered that I had jars of yummy curry powder and Sichuan sea salt that I received from Reese and Mark at Season With Spice not too long ago. Again, if you’re a regular reader, you might remember my SWS goodie binge from the summer. You may have also seen me put Sichuan sea salt in peanut butter cups over at Food52 recently. (SIDEBAR: I love love love that Sichuan sea salt. As soon as it arrived, I popped open the jar and straight-up ate some.)
And so, both seemingly unusual spices went into my gnocchi. To keep the flavors grounded in some sort of sense, I decided on a spicy coconut sauce, made tangy by some delicious crème fraîche from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery. Plus some roasted cauliflower, because, well, roasted cauliflower is tops. And cilantro seemed like the best herb to tie everything together. Despite the fact that the dough smelled delicious and the flavors worked in my head, I really wasn’t sure how it would all turn out. So when I finally sat down and tasted it, I was surprised and thrilled to discover that it was absolutely, indisputably, freakin’ awesome.
So take it from me: this is a fusion that works. Go ahead and put some curry powder in your pasta dough. Seriously.
ALSO, I wanted to give you all a heads up on some exciting stuff happening next month. I was asked to put together a couple crème fraîche recipes for Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, so those will be going up here and on the VTB&CC website in the last week of November! I’m sharing the spotlight with Christine of Cook the Story, Samantha of Sweet Remedy, and Angela of Seasonal & Savory, and we’ll all be hosting giveaways! I’m psyched, especially because I have two REALLY awesome recipes lined up. I won’t spoil the surprise, but I will say that one is a crumb cake that will melt your brain, and the other utilizes a sauce very similar to this one, but in a fashion that would make for an amazing Thanksgiving side dish. I know, it’s cutting it close as far as planning goes, but you should just buy some sweet potatoes and trust me. For real.
P.S. I took way too many pictures, so it’s time for a photo overload!
serves: 2 (plus some gnocchi leftover to freeze)
For the gnocchi dough:
1 cup kabocha purée
1/3 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, pulsed in a food processor until finely chopped
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more, as needed)
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp Sichuan Pepper Sea Salt
3/4 tsp Sweet & Spicy Curry Powder
Combine all ingredients together and then knead until a smooth dough forms.
Cut dough into four pieces, then roll one piece into a rope approximately 12 inches long. Cut into 16 pieces, and the shape each piece with a gnocchi board or a fork. Repeat with remaining three sections of dough.
For any gnocchi you won’t use right away, freeze them on a baking sheet and then store in a freezer-safe bag or container.
For the roasted cauliflower:
half a medium to large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 450°. Toss cauliflower with olive oil and salt and arrange in a baking dish. Let roast for 30–40 minutes, or until cauliflower are nicely browned on the edges.
For the sauce:
1/2 cup coconut milk
heaping 1/4 cup crème fraîche
2 tsp sriracha
minced cilantro (plus more for garnish)
Combine coconut milk, crème fraîche, and sriracha in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, whisking to remove any lumps in the coconut milk. When warm, set aside and stir in cilantro.
For the dish:
all of the above
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi and let cook until puffy and floating (around 3–5 minutes if using fresh pasta, around 8–10 minutes if frozen).
While gnocchi is boiling, warm butter in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. When sizzling, add garlic, then add cooked gnocchi from the pot of water. Saute until gnocchi are nicely browned.
Serve with roasted cauliflower and top with sriracha-coconut crème fraîche. Garnish with extra cilantro.