Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Best Thing to Do With Pumpkin: Make Pasta (and Add Brown Butter)

Living a gluten-free lifestyle isn't all that bad, until the time comes when you really have a craving for pumpkin ravioli. With a nutty brown butter. Real homemade pasta. Ha.

I've been inspired by pumpkins recently. I've got four in my apartment (one with stockings on it, one chalkboard painted-both found here), and another soon-to-be glittered... and then a white one), have made warm pumpkin "pudding" for breakfast, a pumpkin pancake (that I am devouring with walnuts and roasted grapes as I write this), pumpkin soup, and now this pasta.

Inspired by Roman-style gnocchi, this dish transforms sweet pumpkin purée into a delightful pasta dish that is best complemented by nutty brown butter and aromatic sage. The key here is to really cook the pumpkin so most of the moisture is released so you don't have to overdo it on the flour, losing the pumpkin flavor.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Gnocchi
2 cups fresh pumpkin flesh, still warm*
2 eggs, beaten
3 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
½ cup Parmesan, plus more to garnish
3 cups gluten-free flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
2 sticks butter
15 sage leaves
Spiced pumpkin seeds or walnuts, for garnish (optional)

In a large pot, combine the pumpkin, eggs, salt, and cheese and mix well over medium-low heat. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and starch and mix well. Immediately add the flour and starch mixture to the pot with the pumpkin, starting with 1 ½ cups, and continuously stirring while cooking over medium heat. Continue adding more until the mixture dries out a bit and comes together into a ball. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead it for about a minute or 2. Press into a rectangular shape, about ½-inch thick, and let it rest for about an hour to dry out a bit.

Once the dough has dried, cut into 1 ½-inch squares and set aside, lightly covered in flour so they don't stick.

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 stick butter with a pinch of salt and begin to brown it. Add half of the sage leaves and fry until crisp, about 1 minute. Remove the sage and add half the gnocchi. Spoon butter all around, cooking for 2 minutes per side, until just crisp. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining butter, sage, and gnocchi. Serve with Parmesan, a sprinkle of salt, and spiced pumpkin seeds or walnuts, if desired.

Serves 4
Total time: 4 hours
*Note: You can steam or roast the pumpkin.

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