I solemnly promise that this will be the last of pumpkin you’ll see on my blog this year. I just couldn’t resist milking my pumpkin for all it’s worth, all 50 pence of it. With my first pumpkin which cost £2.50, I made a pumpkin and walnut cake with cream cheese frosting, and roasted the rest to go with grilled meats. With the second pumpkin I bought on the morning of Halloween at only 50 pence, I made pumpkin and chocolate brownies with cream cheese swirls, then for some unfathomable reason, I decided to fashion little morsels of gnocchi out of the remnants and even roasted the pumpkin seeds for a sweet, savoury and spicy snack. Mind you, the gnocchi were enough for four servings…talk about budget eating!
Fifty pence for brownies AND four servings of gnocchi was certainly a financial dream to behold. But I’d say that there’s no such thing as a cheap lunch because these little suckers made me earn my meals the really hard way. They are by far, the messiest, stickiest, most stubborn things I’ve ever made. I was fuming throughout the process, cursing to high heavens with M cowering in the corner of the kitchen, ready to lend a helping hand when I have a nervous breakdown.
When I was scouring for recipes on the net, nobody ever said how difficult it was to make pumpkin gnocchi. After getting my elbows deep in the annoying pile of pumpkin gnocchi dough, I was convinced that either 1) someone was not coming clean with the difficulties or 2) they are the experts and I am the kitchen idiot. I don’t know which is true, but having to shape the insanely sticky dough into logs just so I could cut them into pillows was a surefire way to get me in a murderous mood.
BUT, my efforts paid off. The pumpkin gnocchi were pillowy soft and pleasurably chewy. They were very, very subtly sweet and went so well with the savoury chorizo brown butter sauce I made. I also added an Oriental touch by garnishing the gnocchi with chopped spring onions, which lent a nice fresh kick and lifted the dish beautifully. Thank goodness they turned out well, because if the gnocchi tasted bad, I would have lost it and M might just suffer from post-traumatic stress, not to mention the ickiness of having a bad, bad dinner.
If you are in the mood to tackle some sticky dough, knock yourself out with this recipe. (I consulted numerous recipes, and I basically adapted it from everyone else’s. I also had to revise the amounts of flour added because even the adapted recipe wasn’t working well for me.)
Pumpkin gnocchi with chorizo brown butter sauce:
For the pumpkin gnocchi:
800g pumpkin, gutted, deseeded and sliced to finger-thick wedges
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
Generous dash of black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg yolk
200g plain flour, plus lots more to flour working surfaces etc
20g potato flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a tray with aluminium foil.
2. Toss pumpkin wedges with sea salt, generous dash of pepper and olive oil, and roast the wedges in the oven for 30 minutes until they are tender.
3. Cool the pumpkin wedges, then blitz in food processor to form purée. You should get about 500g of purée, depending on the water content of your pumpkin.
4. To every 500g of pumpkin purée, add egg yolk, plain flour, potato flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix with a fork till just combined, and you should get a sticky dough. Do not overwork the dough as you want the gnocchi to be soft.
5. Flour working surfaces and a large tray/plate generously with plain flour. Also flour your hands and utensils used to shape the dough. Place a dollop of dough in your floured hands, pat it down with lots of flour to prevent the dough from sticking and shape it into a thin log (width of a hotdog) by rolling it on a floured surface. Using a floured knife, cut the log into 1.5cm-wide pieces, and place them on the floured tray. Make indents with a fork to create patterns on gnocchi. At this point, boil them in salted boiling water till they float before draining the excess water. For the ones that you want to freeze, remember to freeze the gnocchi on the floured tray, and only transfer them to a ziplock bag when they are completely frozen. To cook them, do not thaw the gnocchi out, just drop them into boiling water immediately.
For the chorizo brown butter sauce:
125g good-quality chorizo, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried sage
Spring onions to garnish, chopped
1. Melt butter in oil on a non-stick pan till butter turns frothy and brown on medium heat.
2. Add chorizo, sage and fry till the oil seeps out of the chorizo into the brown butter.
3. Add the boiled gnocchi to the pan and toss to combine.
4. Using a slotted spoon, scoop up the gnocchi and chorizo to drain off the excess brown butter sauce (so it isn’t too oily). Plate up and garnish with chopped spring onions.
*Updated: This post has been featured on Foodgawker. Check out my profile on Foodgawker to see my other featured posts!