I’m starting off by saying, I ate pasta 5 times last week and have no intentions of quitting;
After all, it’s clearly my top comfort food year round. With the cool weather coming, I’ve been warming myself up with copious amounts of doughy goodness. Stuffed with cheese, topped with cheese, and generous amounts of butter. So, its only natural I share one of my fall favorites: Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer my gnocchi with a little crispy-ness. It gives added texture to what can sometimes be a one-noted dish. Add some crispy pancetta, sage and some mixed mushrooms and you have yourself a amped up version of a classic. Of course, you can add your own twist which is part of the fun of cooking so feel free to switch things up.
And before you get going on the recipe, I will give you some great advise I wish I had known the first few times I made gnocchi. There is nothing worse than making gnocchi and finding out all your hard labour gave you hard/chewy dough balls. 1.) If you can, opt to use a potato ricer. It creates a more fluffy gnocchi by keeping the potato aerated and soft. 2.) Only use as much flour as absolutely necessary. Adding it a little at a time will ensure you don’t add more than needed. 3.) Don’t overmix. Once the dough comes together, avoid any additional kneading.
If you follow the above, you will have delicious soft gnocchi that melts in your mouth!
Add diced pancetta to small pan on medium heat. Cook until just crispy. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towel to soak up excess fat. Set aside and keep fat in pan for next step.
With the pan used for the pancetta, add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil and saute mushrooms until tender (about 7 minutes). Remove with slotted spoon and set aside on paper towel.
For the Gnocchi
Bake the potato any way you like or boil with the skin on. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Peel off skin and put through a potato ricer. If you do not have a ricer, grate the potatoes using a cheese grater so you have very little potato pieces. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups.
Mix potato with pumpkin puree and add the egg. Mix until incorporated but don’t over mix. Place 1 1/2 cups of flour onto a flat surface and add the potato/pumpkin puree. Slowly mix in flour until the dough is no longer sticky. The less flour the better so keep adding a little bit at a time not to overdo it. Once dough come together, form a smooth ball.
Cut ball into fifths and take each fifth and roll into a long rope. Cut the rope in small, bit sized pieces and set aside on a lightly floured baking sheet or large cutting board. Continue until all the dough has been cut up.
Boil a large pot of water and add gnocchi. Try to cook the gnocchi in smaller batches to avoid over crowding. Once gnocchi floats to the top, wait about 20 more seconds then remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
In a large cast iron or frying pan, heat up 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium high heat.
Add cooked gnocchi into pan and pan fry one side of gnocchi until slightly golden. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside
For Brown Butter Sage Sauce
Melt butter in medium to large skillet on medium to medium high heat. Cook butter, stirring occasionally, until it starts to turn golden and smells nutty. Add sage and fry until crispy (couple of minutes). Make sure not to burn the butter (you’ll start to smell it burning). Remove from heat.
Once brown butter is finished, immediately transfer crispy gnocchi, pancetta and mushrooms into sauce. Toss until well incorporated. Season with salt/pepper and garnish with parmesean. Serve in desired dish; add more cheese (can never have enough) and devour.