Fall and winter Sundays induce a yearning to cook in my very soul. I remember my mom making cinnamon rolls on winter Sunday afternoons, filling the house with warmth and fragrance. But man cannot live by bread alone, so we made gnocchi last Sunday, as the showers of leaves covered our grass and football reigned supreme on our television.
Our family loves gnocchi, usually as a side dish, sauteed in a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter until it’s crisp on the outside, fluffy inside. For this, I tried the traditional method of boiling the gnocchi to cook it, then topping it with a decadent-tasting sauce (but it’s really fairly healthy!). And, since it’s fall, I made pumpkin, not regular potato gnocchi.
The process sounds daunting, but it really took less than an hour, start to finish, and provided lots of bonding time with my middle kid. He was very impressed that we could make gnocchi from scratch!
As usual, the middle hooligan loved being my sous chef. He did a great job shaping the gnocchi, and I have a confession to make…my family ate this like an appetizer. I plated it to take photos, and they kept sneaking bites out with toothpicks. Before I knew it, the pasta plate was empty, save a few smears of the sauce that they couldn’t pick up with toothpicks. It would probably serve four or five as a main course.
Pumpkin Gnocchi in Pesto Cream
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth (or 1-3/4 cups and add ¼ cup white wine)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp prepared pesto
1. To make gnocchi: Combine flour, pumpkin, salt, and nutmeg to form a sticky dough.
6. Bring 3 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add half the gnocchi and cook three minutes, until it floats. Remove with slotted spoon to colander. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.
7. To make sauce (while water boils): Melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in flour and whisk for thirty seconds, then whisk in broth (and wine, if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about three minutes, until thickened. Stir in pesto and Parmesan.
8. Place cooked gnocchi on pasta plate, then top with sauce.