Pumpkin & Ricotta Gnocchi with Browned Coriander Butter
Today’s dish was inspired by these pumpkin & quark dumplings at Olala Cooking. I’ve been roasting quite a lot of Hokkaido lately, and I’d just bought another small-ish one. I was thinking about pumpkin mash when the above mentioned post triggered the words gnocchi and ricotta. I had to look up potato & ricotta gnocchi, though, to get a rough feel of the pumpkin : ricotta ratio so I wouldn’t ruin this.
My plan had actually been to give this a go this past week as I had the whole week off; the weather was fantastic, just right for taking pictures by my window. But no, I was lazy and decided to do it all today, and was punished with a grey, rainy day. Didn’t hurt the taste, of course, so I took and worked with what light was left at 3:30 pm.
If you can’t get Hokkaido where you live, you can of course use any available type of pumpkin or squash (which by the way is also called pumpkin, or Kürbis, in German as we don’t differentiate between the two). The nice thing about the Hokkaido is that you can cook or roast it with the skin on, it’ll soften and is edible, and that whatever you use it for will have a lovely colour.
For these gnocchi I did roast the pumpkin with skin on but cut it off afterwards to make the flesh easier to mash. I roasted the pumpkin slices just brushed with oil and no spices. Instead of the usual Parmesan cheese I used grated Gruyère for a bit of “glue”.
Flour-wise I started out with 120 g as per the recipe below, but added about 6 heaped tablespoons more along the way to get the required consistency of the dough.
The classic brown sage butter would have worked here as well, naturally, but I was looking for an alternative, asking a friend what he thought would go well with the pumpkin, and we both thought coriander would do it. And it did.
These soft and almost fluffy gnocchi were well worth spending a little more time in the kitchen. The prepping of the pumpkin doesn’t take more than 15 minutes, but the dough rolling and cutting takes more time. I was giving my first dozen gnocchi the fork treatment to get them to show those typical grooves, but when the first batch was cooked, I realised the marks weren’t really visible so I skipped that step for the rest.
My overall goal had been to taste the pumpkin in these gnocchi but none of the other ingredients, which is why I used neither salt nor pepper in the dough, and why I chose the milder Gruyère instead of the Parmesan. The browned coriander butter with a teaspoon of added raw cane sugar was the perfect topping for these gnocchi, it didn’t take away from the pumpkin taste.
A great starter for a dinner party, and for me a few office lunches to look forward to!
Pumpkin & Ricotta Gnocchi With Browned Coriander Butter
800 g Hokkaido pumpkin, seeds removed
1 egg yolk
150 g ricotta
120 g flour, type “00” if available
50 g Gruyère, finely grated
1 bunch coriander, leaves roughly torn
raw cane sugar
Cut pumpkin into 2.5 cm / 1 in slices, brush both sides with oil, and lay them out on a baking paper covered sheet. Roast them in a 200°C / 400°F oven on the middle shelf for 20 minutes, then take out and let cool enough to handle.
Remove pumpkin skin and cut the rest into small pieces. Place in a large bowl and mash until fine. Add ricotta, Gruyère, egg yolk and flour, and mix well to get a smooth dough. [Start out with 120 g flour and add more bit by bit if consistency is too sticky. Don’t add too much, though, or the gnocchi will lose their softness while cooking.]
On a very well floured surface cut dough into manageable pieces, roll each one out into a 1½ cm / ½ cm thick sausage and cut them into pieces. Keep the surface well floured at all times.
While cutting, bring a pot of salted water to the boil, then cook the gnocchi in batches. As soon as they start swimming to the surface, skim them off and place in a colander.
For the coriander topping, heat a generous amount of butter in a frying pan, add 1 tsp of raw cane sugar, then add the torn coriander leaves. Keep stirring until the butter is slightly browned and the coriander looks fried. Remove coriander from pan and set aside, then add more butter and fry the gnocchi until they’re slightly browned.
Serve the gnocchi immediately, sprinkled with the coriander browned butter.