I’m very partial to well-made gnocchi, and this one is a great example as it’s still light and fluffy, but the pumpkin gives it a savoury, earthy flavour. The main trick when making gnocchi is to work swiftly, gently, and be prepared to judge the right amount of flour.

Serves
4

Preparation

20min

Cooking

40min

Skill level

Mid
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Ingredients

  • 300 g jap pumpkin, cut into even 5 cm chunks
  • 600 g medium red desiree potatoes
  • 300 g plain flour (see Note)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 40 g finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • white pepper
  • 90 g butter
  • 20 g capers
  • ⅓ cup sage leaves
  • 100 ml marsala
  • lemon juice, to season
  • shaved Parmesan, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Toss the pumpkin in oil, season and place on an oven tray. Set aside. Lay your potatoes on a rack and place in oven for 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin and cook for 30–45 minutes or until potatoes are soft, but not over cooked and the pumpkin is soft and mashable. The cooking time can vary quite a lot, so check regularly and remain alert. This is probably the hardest step, making sure the potatoes and pumpkin are just right.

Once ready, pass the pumpkin through a ricer and straight onto a floured bench. Scoop the flesh from the potatoes and pass through the ricer, discarding the skins.

Make sure the pumpkin and potatoes form a nice, flat mound, then sift ⅔ of the flour over the top, sprinkle with some salt, nutmeg and a good amount of white pepper, then scatter over the parmesan and pour over the egg.

Use your hands to bring everything together and gently knead until a soft dough forms, adding more flour if it feels a little too sticky. Be wary of overworking it.

Break off a quarter of the dough, leaving the remainder covered with a tea towel so it doesn’t get too cold. Roll dough out into a log about 2 cm wide and then, using a butter knife, cut the log into 3 cm pieces, gently flicking each piece away from the log as you go. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Once all the gnocchi are made, turn to the stove to make your sauce, so it’s ready before you begin cooking your little dumplings.

Place a large frying pan over high heat and immediately add the butter and capers. Once the butter has melted and starts to sizzle, throw in the sage leaves and start swirling your pan around. Give it a little seasoning. After a couple of minutes or so you will see the butter start to turn brown and the sage leaves will be looking crispy. This is when you need to add the marsala, giving the pan a little swirl, cook for 1-2 minutes then remove from heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large, wide-based saucepan of salted water to the boil. Using a spatula to transfer gnocchi from the bench and gently lower into the water, cook, in batches, for 3-5 minutes or until they start to rise to the surface. Use a slotted spoon to carefully scoop them out and add straight to your sauce.

Once all the gnocchi have made their way into the sauce, return the pan to high heat. Gve everything a chance to mingle as you gently toss it. Season with a squirt or two of lemon juice then serve immediately with shaved parmesan sprinkled casually over the top.

 

Notes

• Marsala varies greatly in sweetness and quality so be prepared to adjust the amount of lemon juice in the sauce to suit your taste.

 A ricer or a mouli is essential in this recipe. It is the most efficient way to achieve right consistency without overworking the potatoes. 

• The amount of flour given in the recipe is enough for the dough, for flouring your bench and for spare. Be aware that it could be too much, as the amount varies, depending on your pumpkin and potatoes.

 

Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel.

 

Read our interview with Tama. This recipe is from our online column, The seasonal cook: Pumpkin. View previous The seasonal cook columns and recipes.