Pumpkin gnocchi with chorizo and a sage and goats cheese cream
Making gnocchis is hugely fun, kind of a cross between DIY and arts and crafts. I had a nagging envy to make pumpkin ones this year but my first trial ended with a spectacular failure. Followed a series of obsessive trials until I finally nailed it. With plenty of tips, this recipe makes gorgeously sweet and melting little pearls, sage-loving and fab against the salty bite of sautéed chorizo. Take the plunge, give it a go!

Pumpkin gnocchi with chorizo and a sage and goats cheese cream

Posted on October 27, 2010
Categories: Main Courses, meat and chicken, pasta, risotto and pizza, vegetarian
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Recipe by: Anne-Laure at Tasty Diaries
Busy:45 min, Total prep time: 1h30
Serves: 3 
Prepare the gnocchi:

This recipe is easiest with hokkaido pumpkins, which are a tad less juicy than regular pumpkins. Hokkaido pumpkins have a reddish or dark green skin while pumpkin are more orangy, and tend to bulge out where the stem meets the flesh:

Hokkaido pumpkin

With "regular" pumpkin the recipe works very well too on the condition that you draw out its juice properly. I will be giving you all the tricks to do this below, so don't worry!

Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Wash the pumpkin and cut it in halves using a large and sturdy knife. Discard the stem and all seeds with the help of a tablespoon. Cut each half into 1 inch slices and scatter them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes or until soft.

Allow the slices to rest until they are cool enough to handle then scoop their flesh out, transferring it to a meshed thieve. Gently press the flesh with the palm of your hands to draw its juice out. Mix the flesh and press again to draw out more juice, then repeat one last time if the flesh still feels juicy. Transfer the flesh to a bowl and blend it with a stick blender (or in a stand blender). If you don't have a blender, use a masher instead.

Take 400g of the puree and mix it with the nutmeg, a bit of salt, flour and then the egg. Work the mixture well until it forms a soft and sticky dough. Resist the urge to add more flour at this point otherwise the gnocchi will become too chewy and their taste will suffer.

Allow the dough to cool down completely, it will become easier to handle. At this stage, it should be sticky and of the consistency of soft putty. If the dough is still too purée-like and you are unable to give it any lasting shape, don't panick! Just do this most horribly un-cheffy rescue operation (here go all my chances to be taken seriously): transfer the puree to a non-stick frying pan and cook it over low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula and scraping the cooked bottom back into the dough. Lumps WILL form but don't worry, these will all but disappear as the dough cools down and you roll the gnocchi. Do this for 4-5 minutes then set aside until cold. Don't lose hope at the still very soft texture of the hot mixture. As it cools down, it will thicken.

Flour liberally a flat work surface and place a generous tablespoon of the dough onto it. Shape it into a finger-thick roll with the palm of your hands and cut it into pieces 2cm long. Mark the top of each gnoccho with the back of a fork to give it its distinctive shape, and set aside on a tray lined with paper towels. Add more flour to your work surface before dropping another tablespoon of dough.

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage and chorizo step 1

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage and chorizo step 2

Prepare the dish (10 min):

Peel the chorizo and cut it into ½ cm thick slices. Toss the slices into a non-stick frying pan (don't add oil) and sauté over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the slice to a plate and set aside. Add the onion slices to the pan and sauté until soft and translucent. Mix the chorizo back with the onions and keep in the pan, ready for last minute reheating if needed at the time of plating.

Prepare the goat's cream cream: Crush the goats cheese with a fork and mix it. If it feels too dry and crumbly, soften it for a few seconds in the microwave. Mix with the cream and chiseled sage and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a generous pinch of salt and reduce the heat until the water bubbles lightly. Add the gnocchi in batches and cook until they start floating on top. Depending on their size this may take between 2 and 5 minutes. Take out the gnocchi with a skimmer as they rise to the surface and store them on a warm, oiled plate - pouring them through a pasta strainer could easily damage them.

Prepare the plate:

Arrange the gnocchis at the centre of each plate, place the chorizo and onion mix on top , then drop a dollop of goat's cheese cream. If you want to add a wow factor, finish with a whole fried sage leaf and a few fried leaf crumbs sprinkled all over the dish.

The plus: fried sage leaves (can be done up to a day before using):

Pour 1 cm sunflower or other frying oil into a small saucepan. Heat it up over medium heat until the oil starts smoking. Reduce the heat and fry the leaves two at a time. Take out as soon as bubbles stop forming around them and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels. When finished, season with sea salt flakes and store between paper towels in an airtight container.

Prepare the gnocchi:

This recipe is easiest with hokkaido pumpkins, which are a tad less juicy than regular pumpkins. Hokkaido pumpkins have a reddish or dark green skin while pumpkin are more orangy, and tend to bulge out where the stem meets the flesh:

Hokkaido pumpkin

With “regular” pumpkin the recipe works very well too on the condition that you draw out its juice properly. I will be giving you all the tricks to do this below, so don’t worry!

Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Wash the pumpkin and cut it in halves using a large and sturdy knife. Discard the stem and all seeds with the help of a tablespoon. Cut each half into 1 inch slices and scatter them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes or until soft.

Allow the slices to rest until they are cool enough to handle then scoop their flesh out, transferring it to a meshed thieve. Gently press the flesh with the palm of your hands to draw its juice out. Mix the flesh and press again to draw out more juice, then repeat one last time if the flesh still feels juicy. Transfer the flesh to a bowl and blend it with a stick blender (or in a stand blender). If you don’t have a blender, use a masher instead.

Take 400g of the puree and mix it with the nutmeg, a bit of salt, flour and then the egg. Work the mixture well until it forms a soft and sticky dough. Resist the urge to add more flour at this point otherwise the gnocchi will become too chewy and their taste will suffer.

Allow the dough to cool down completely, it will become easier to handle. At this stage, it should be sticky and of the consistency of soft putty. If the dough is still too purée-like and you are unable to give it any lasting shape, don’t panick! Just do this most horribly un-cheffy rescue operation (here go all my chances to be taken seriously): transfer the puree to a non-stick frying pan and cook it over low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula and scraping the cooked bottom back into the dough. Lumps WILL form but don’t worry, these will all but disappear as the dough cools down and you roll the gnocchi. Do this for 4-5 minutes then set aside until cold. Don’t lose hope at the still very soft texture of the hot mixture. As it cools down, it will thicken.

Flour liberally a flat work surface and place a generous tablespoon of the dough onto it. Shape it into a finger-thick roll with the palm of your hands and cut it into pieces 2cm long. Mark the top of each gnoccho with the back of a fork to give it its distinctive shape, and set aside on a tray lined with paper towels. Add more flour to your work surface before dropping another tablespoon of dough.

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage and chorizo step 1

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage and chorizo step 2

Prepare the dish (10 min):

Peel the chorizo and cut it into ½ cm thick slices. Toss the slices into a non-stick frying pan (don’t add oil) and sauté over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the slice to a plate and set aside. Add the onion slices to the pan and sauté until soft and translucent. Mix the chorizo back with the onions and keep in the pan, ready for last minute reheating if needed at the time of plating.

Prepare the goat’s cream cream: Crush the goats cheese with a fork and mix it. If it feels too dry and crumbly, soften it for a few seconds in the microwave. Mix with the cream and chiseled sage and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a generous pinch of salt and reduce the heat until the water bubbles lightly. Add the gnocchi in batches and cook until they start floating on top. Depending on their size this may take between 2 and 5 minutes. Take out the gnocchi with a skimmer as they rise to the surface and store them on a warm, oiled plate – pouring them through a pasta strainer could easily damage them.

Prepare the plate:

Arrange the gnocchis at the centre of each plate, place the chorizo and onion mix on top , then drop a dollop of goat’s cheese cream. If you want to add a wow factor, finish with a whole fried sage leaf and a few fried leaf crumbs sprinkled all over the dish.

The plus: fried sage leaves (can be done up to a day before using):

Pour 1 cm sunflower or other frying oil into a small saucepan. Heat it up over medium heat until the oil starts smoking. Reduce the heat and fry the leaves two at a time. Take out as soon as bubbles stop forming around them and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels. When finished, season with sea salt flakes and store between paper towels in an airtight container.

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Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)
Pumpkin gnocchi with chorizo and a sage and goats cheese cream, 4.2 out of 5 based on 5 ratings
Roasting thin slices of pumpkin dries them out a bit, which is much better for making gnocchis than boiling or steaming pumpkin cubes - as is called in many recipes.

Store the gnocchis in the fridge if not using right away. You can stack them delicately in a box lined with a paper towel, but they will start sticking to each other over time so stacking is only good if you plan to eat them within 2-3 hours of making them. If not, keep them in one single layer.
Ingredients

For the gnocchis:
1 small pumpkin (just over 1 kg)
160 g flour
1 egg
2 pinches of nutmeg
Salt

For the dish:
100g chorizo
1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
50 g goats cheese, rim trimmed off
1 tablespoon mascarpone
4 sage leaves (plus 8 for frying - optional)
Pepper

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