Last year we were treated to a cookbook devoted to the holidays: Gizzi’s Season’s Eatings. It’s an awesomely happy book with plenty of British-inspired holiday treats. I saw this recipe and have saved it for this fall season. It’s pumpkin time for us and the weather now begs us for something hearty, homey and warm. This recipe fits the bill perfectly. And, as you can see, beautifully.
Fried Pumpkin and Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage, Gorgonzola Cream Sauce and Roasted Pecans
Yield: serves 1
- 9 ounces plain flour, plus more for dusting
- 7 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese (or you can use cottage cheese)
- 14 ounces pumpkin puree
- 2 large free-range egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes, plus more as needed
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 2 ¾ ounces unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped sage leaves
- 1 ¾ ounces pecans, rough chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 10 ounces creme fraiche
- 3 ½ ounces Gorgonzola cheese, chopped
- 1 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Freshly ground black pepper
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and lightly dust it with flour; set aside. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to the boil over a high heat.
Place the ricotta in a blender and blitz for a few seconds until gritty, like wet crumbs, but not smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, egg yolks, salt, brown sugar and nutmeg, season with a good grinding of white pepper and stir to combine. Add the flour and mix until the dough just comes together (it will be very soft and slightly sticky, but don’t overwork it or the dough will become tough and heavy), adding more flour if necessary.
Flour a work surface and turn out the dough. Pat it into a rough rectangle and cut it into 4 equal pieces. Gently roll a piece into an even rope about 2cm (¾ inch) in diameter, flouring the surface as needed. Cut the rope into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces. Lightly flour your forefinger and your thumb, and squash the gnocchi gently into perfect rectangles. Place each on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting the remaining 3 dough pieces. You will have around 32 gnocchi when done.
Line a second baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside. Add about one-third of the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes until they float, then let them cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute more, so they’re just cooked through. (You can test this by cutting one in half – it should look the same all the way through.) Remove with a slotted spoon, blotting excess water from the bottom of the spoon with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, and transfer to the second prepared baking sheet. Repeat, cooking the remaining gnocchi in 2 more batches. Reserve half a mug’s worth of the cooking water and set it aside.
Melt half the butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat until foaming. Add half the sage, half the pecans and half the gnocchi and cook, shaking the pan often, until the gnocchi are browned and a little crisp, which takes about 3 minutes. Squeeze over the lemon juice. Transfer with the slotted spoon to a bowl and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining butter, sage and gnocchi.
Put the reserved gnocchi cooking water and creme fraiche into a separate pan over a lowish heat and whisk to combine.
Add the Gorgonzola and Parmesan and cook, whisking occasionally, for about 3 minutes, until slightly reduced and full of flavor. Season with salt and black pepper. Place one-quarter of the sauce on each serving plate and top with one-quarter of the gnocchi, drizzling with all the sage butter from the bowl. Serve immediately.
Source: Gizzi’s Season’s Eatings by Gizzi Erskine [Michell Beazley, 2017]