While I was in New York with my husband over Christmas, we planned on hitting up one of my bucket list restaurants: the Spotted Pig. We braced ourselves for a cold evening spent waiting with our name on a 2 hour wait list, salivating over the ultimate burger while watching warm and happy diners through the window. No reservations…no mercy. I lasted a whole 5 minutes before finding a nice looking bar down the street.
I promised my husband, no nibbles – only some wine to warm up while we wait for the snooty looking hostess at the Spotted Pig to text us back. Two drinks later, I placed an order for pumpkin gnocchi. It was perfect meal for that moment in time: soul warming and life affirming. We made the right decision, eating here…We split the last pillowy piece of gnocchi when the host texted us back and asked for the dessert menu.
In this recipe, I took a cue from several sources, and used ricotta in place of potato which, when combined with the pumpkin puree, created a light and fluffy winter gnocchi. When sautéed in brown butter and fried sage, this was perfection.
Making gnocchi at home is not very difficult if you understand a few basic principles:
- Do Not Overwork the Dough – work the dough only until it just comes together and use light hands when rolling it out or your gnocchi will be tough.
- Easy on the Flour – you will be tempted to use more flour than necessary because the dough can be sticky. Don’t do it!
- Make ahead- Gnocchi making can be messy. Spend an afternoon putting it together and then pop them in the freezer on a parchment lined baking sheet. You can drop them in a pot of boiling water directly from freeze.
Serves 4 -8
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 cup ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 3-4 cups all purpose, cake flour or Italian “OO” flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1-2 pinches nutmeg
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 6 sage leaves, minces
If using gnocchi right away bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then reduce to simmer while you prepare the gnocchi, otherwise line two large baking sheets with parchment and sprinkle with flour.
In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, ricotta, eggs, parmesan, salt and nutmeg. Add two cups of flour and mix with your hands until the dough comes together. It will be very sticky at this point, almost impossible to work. Add another 1/2 cup flour and gently mix in until just combined. It should still be sticky but pliable enough to be rolled into a log. If it’s still too sticky, you may add additional flour but be careful not to overwork the dough or add too much flour.
Spread flour over a large work surface. Shape gnocchi dough into a large log. Cut the log into four equal pieces using a floured bench scraper or knife. Cut one piece in half and gently roll into two long logs about 1/2 inch thick. Cut each log into pieces that are roughly the thickness of a fork.
Flour your hands and using one finger, push a piece of gnocchi against the back tines of a fork. This will create an indent on one side from your fingers and the ridges on the other side from the fork. Place gnocchi on prepared parchment. Continue until all gnocchi are completed. At this point, you may place baking sheets of gnocchi in the freezer and then into a container once frozen.
When ready to serve, drop about 1/3 of gnocchi into boiling salter water. Boil gnocchi until they float to the surface and then remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside on a plate. Continue until all gnocchi has been boiled.
In a large frying pan over medium high heat, melt the butter and allow it to turn a golden caramel color. Add sage and toss. Working in batches, place a layer of gnocchi in the pan. Let them fry undisturbed for 90 seconds on each side. Serve immediately, topping with the brown butter/sage sauce and freshly grated parmesan.
Adapted from Chow