By Charlotte Janelle
Getting ready for Halloween was a big thing in our house. Sure, like most kids, creating my costume was something I would think long and hard about. But I didn’t really care about the candy collection part of Halloween. Getting to eat the savory pumpkin dishes coming out of the kitchen was more my jam. As early as I can remember, we carved a pumpkin every October. But we weren’t always making jack-o-lanterns, but prepping fall pumpkin puree, always keeping the seeds to eat out of hand or use as a garnish. This year we carved white pumpkins and puréed them to make gnocchi, an Italian dumpling traditionally made with either potatoes or ricotta cheese.
To make your own pumpkin purée, split the pumpkin in half, discard the guts (saving the seeds, of course!), and rub the inside with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Bake these pumpkin halves cut side down in a 375-degree oven until tender, 45-60 minutes depending how
big your pumpkin was. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and cool to room temperature. Scoop out the flesh and purée it in a food processor. The puree will keep in the refrigerator for about three days, but you can freeze it if you need to keep it around longer.
As a kid I ate these gnocchi tossed in just a bit of olive oil, topped with parmesan cheese. As a more seasoned eater I find they pair well with meaty ragus and thicker sauces for a hearty autumn meal. With brown butter and sage is my current favorite way to eat them.
Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
3 cups flour
1 cup pumpkin purée
6 tablespoons butter, sliced
12 sage leaves (more for garnish), torn
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese to garnish
Combine flour, pumpkin purée and eggs in a large bowl into a rough dough. Turn it out onto the counter and knead it gently to form a smooth ball of dough. Cut the ball into 4 equal parts and evenly roll out each one into a ¾-inch wide log. Cut dough into small pieces about an inch long.
Mark them with a fork to help the sauce stick to them.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Working in batches, add gnocchi to boiling water. They will initially sink but will rise to the top when they are cooked. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a colander to drain. Repeat until you have cooked all the gnocchi.
To prepare the sauce, add butter to a large sauté pan and stir until melted. Cook to let the better form and turn slightly brown. Add sage leaves and let them sizzle in the hot butter for 15 seconds. Add lemon juice and stir. Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and toss so they are all covered in brown butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, with a sprinkle of
parmesan and a sage leaf for a garnish.