Not your average pasta, gnocchi (no - kee) is an Italian staple that substitutes some of its wheat flour for other forms of starch, often potato; since it’s October, we're using seasonal pumpkin!
Not only is the vibrant veggie in the pasta, we've also found a way to shape the gnocchi as adorable mini pumpkinettes! It’s a little time consuming but the end result is totally worth it! Their novel appearance and QQ (bouncy) texture is sure to intrigue and delight even the fussiest of eaters.
Delving into the deets
Use canned puréed pumpkin to save time, or you can easily make your own by steaming pumpkin slices till soft (~30 minutes) and process it in a blender until it is smooth.
Italian cheese is an integral part of the gnocchi dough, helping to impart it's bouncy texture, and earthy flavour on the pasta. Parmesan was what we used for this recipe, but other Italian hard cheeses like Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano will work just as well.
We find it is tastiest (and most economical) to buy blocks/ wedges of cheese and grate it when needed, this is also better for garnishing the pasta.
Gnocchi is most commonly enjoyed pan fried in butter with herbs, most traditionally sage. We substituted the sage for rosemary in our version, because its oblong leaves happen to perfectly mimic cute little pumpkin stems!
Alternatively, Gnocchi takes well to other pasta sauces too: tomato, pesto, or gorgonzola sauce are all classic partners.
The creamy ricotta helps lighten the dough and gives this pasta its fluffy, light texture making it a key component of the recipe.
- Line a large mixing bowl with 4 paper towel sheets, then spread the pumpkin purée atop them to let the excess moisture leech out from the mash for 5 minutes.
- Remove the paper towels leaving the pumpkin in the bowl. Add the rest of the gnocchi dough ingredients and mix them with a wooden spoon.
- When the dough has come together, dust your hands with flour and knead the soft dough by hand within the bowl (~ 2 mins). Add more flour to the dough if it is too sticky to work with, but not so much that the dough gets tough.
- Wrap the dough with cling film and leave it to rest (30 mins).
Divide the dough
- Dust a clean work surface with flour, then knead the dough more (~ 2 minutes).
- Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, and wrap each piece with cling film except for one.
- Work the unwrapped dough into a 4 cm thick log by rolling it on the work surface with your hands.
- Divvy up the dough log with a knife into 2 cm pieces.
Shaping the Jack-o-cchi
Roll each small piece of dough into a ball. Try to get each of these to be relatively smooth as any creases left in the dough will show up larger after shaping. Pinch any obvious creases together with your fingers and re-roll.
Shaping technique 1 / 2 :
- Use the shaft of a toothpick/ skewer to press down and stamp a line in the gnocchi ball.
- Rotate the ball a quarter-turn then stamp down again so there should now be a cross imprint.
- Rotate the dough a one-eight-turn and stamp again, then half-turn, and stamp more so the surface of the ball should resemble an asterisk.
- Squeeze the sides of the dough inward gently while rotating the ball to give the pasta height.
- Use your fingertip to gently indent the gnocchi in the center of the asterisk.
- With the pointy end of the toothpick, pierce a single rosemary leaf deep into the center of the indent with the tip of it sticking out to simulate the pumpkin’s stem.
Or technique 2 / 2:
- Wielding a toothpick in each hand, squeeze the dough ball inwards towards its center.
- Squeeze inwards again with both toothpicks after rotating the ball by a quarter, then repeat this pressing in the 4 remaining unmarked quadrants.
- You should have an oblong rugby ball-shaped dough now, which you can press down to make more pumpkin-like.
- Use the pointy end of the toothpick to pierce a single rosemary leaf into the center of the indent to simulate the pumpkin’s stem.
- Coat each completed mini pumpkin with a thin layer of flour to prevent it from sticking.
- Repeat the process until all the dough is used up.
- Fill your BRUNO Multi Grill Pot with water (~ 1.2 L), and bring it to a rolling boil on HIGH.
- Generously salt the water (~ 1 tbsp) and add the gnocchi. Cook the pasta until it floats and let it boil a further 3 minutes (~ 13 - 15 minutes in total).
- While the pasta is boiling, melt the butter in your BRUNO Hotplate equipped with the flat plate on MED. When the butter browns, turn the heat to low, keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.
- Add 1 sprig of rosemary to the butter to flavour it.
- With a slotted spoon, scoop out and briefly drain your pasta then quickly transfer it directly into the sizzling butter.
- Sauté the gnocchi in the butter for 5 minutes until the pasta is nicely seared on the bottom.
- Scoop out the cutely chapped and nicely seared gnocchi with a large spoon, and garnish with black pepper and freshly grated parmesan to serve.
Happy Halloween! Enjoy~~~