The weather is crisp, the leaves have turned and I'm craving earthy fall flavors like squash and mushrooms and nutmeg and pumpkin. A recipe for sweet potato gnocchi from the latest Sunset magazine caught my eye, but I wondered what would happen if I used pumpkin instead. It turned out amazing. The texture was perfect, just like little pillows (isn't that what gnocchi means?), and the flavor was complex enough that a simple brown butter and sage sauce (with a few pine nuts thrown in) was all it needed. Here is the recipe with my changes:
1 c. ricotta cheese (drained)
2 lbs. potatoes, boiled until tender, peeled and pureeed
1 c. canned pumpkin
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
About 3 cups flour
In a large bowl combine 2 cups of potato purée, pumpkin, ricotta, sugar, cheese, salt and nutmeg. Stir in flour 1/2 c. at a time until soft dough forms. Once dough comes together knead on a floured surface. Depending on how wet your pumpkin and ricotta was, you may need more than 3 cups of flour. Dough should be soft and slighty sticky.
Divide into 8 portions. Roll each portion into 15 inch rope, then cut into 1 inch pieces. Sprinkle dough with flour if it gets too sticky. Transfer to a rimmed baking tray dusted with flour. (At this point gnocchi may be frozen.)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches of 15-20,drop gnocchi into water and cook until firm and float to the top about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Toss with sage brown butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Sage brown butter and pine nuts
Place 1 c. butter and 4 fresh sage leaves in small saucepan. Cook until it foams and smells nutty. Add 4 T. pine nuts. Toss with gnocchi and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly grated parmesan.