This is a pretty light and delicate dish. The Italian pumpkin gnocchi [NYOHK-kee] are very soft and they melt in your mouth. A simple seasoning with butter and sage is the most suitable. My husband does not like pumpkin, but he eats these gnocchi willingly. Pumpkin gnocchi in Italian are gnocchi di zucca. I prepared them with my mother-in-law (in Italian suocera, pronounced SWOH-chehr-ah) because it’s not the easiest recipe if you’re not expert (like me). Luckily she is a very talented in cooking… except for cakes. That’s because she always changes the ingredients doses, or the ingredients themselves! Or, worse, she adds too many things, often things that only she likes. And sometimes she overbakes the cakes. So basically her cakes are dreadful. The scene is usually as follows. We arrive at the in-laws home and she starts:
“I have a little surprise for you“. This sentence usually raises interest and expectations. Then she adds:
“An apple cake”. Expectations level underground, desperate faces. She continues:
“But I don’t know if it is good. The recipe said to add 80g of potato starch but I didn’t had any so I used 150g buckwheat”. Oh no!
“Then I had only one egg so I added some yogurt”. Please, stop!
“Then, since I had too many persimmons in the fridge, I added some, as long as left-over raisins and pomegranate grains“. NOOOOOOOOOOO!
“And I don’t know why, I swear I paid attention but it is a little burnt, but only on the left side” She did it again!
One-act tragedy end. Then we are sure that the next time this won’t happen, because she must have realized that baking is not her thing. I even said that to her once, gently. “Maybe you should focus on tested recipes, those you did several times”. But then no, she relapses.
But her gnocchi are indeed very good! And luckily for me she is also a goodhearted person, happy to share her cooking skills. So here is her recipe!
Italian pumpkin gnocchi recipe
For the gnocchi:
- 700 g pumpkin
- 8 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- about 100 g flour (the amount of flour has to be right to reach a certain consistency, so I can’t exactly tell you how much it should be)
- 50 g of grated Grana Padano. If you want learn more about it, read my post regarding Grana Padano
- salt & pepper
For the sauce:
- 80 g of butter, sage leaves (prepare in advance a baking pan with sage leaves and pieces of butter)
- 50 g of grated Grana Padano
Fist of all, you have to cook the pumpkin. There are two ways.
- Cut the pumpkin into pieces, leaving the skin on, and put it in the oven (180°C, that is 356ºF) for half an hour. Then peel it and mash the pulp.
- Peel the skin, cut the pumpkin into pieces and put it in the microwave with a couple tablespoons of water to the maximum temperature for 15 minutes.
Mix the pumpkin with breadcrumbs, egg and salt. Now you have to add some flour, in the amount that allows you to obtain a dough fairly consistent but still soft.
You have to pour some flour on the table and form with the dough long cylinders to be cut into pieces. Every piece has to be gently pressed with the thumb on the prongs of a fork, and turned over to take a swirl form (this will help to retain more seasoning).
Put the prepared gnocchi on a floured cutting board or other surface. When all the gnocchi are ready you can cook them. Boil a large pot of salted water and dive the gnocchi in, a dozen at a time. As soon as they rise to the surface, collect them with a skimmer.
As the gnocchi were ready I put them in the baking pan with butter and sage and I left them in the oven (hot but turned off, waiting for the others to be cooked), so they could start to season themselves (Can this be said???).
When all the gnocchi are ready, you can serve them with a generous amount of grated Grana Padano cheese.
Buon appetito! [bwohn ahp-peh-TEE-toh]Enjoy your Italian pumpkin gnocchi!