Thursday, November 22, 2012

'Tis the Season, Part Two

[Note:  I started writing this post yesterday, hence the 'Thanksgiving Eve' mention.  I'm letting it be.  To everyone out there...Have a beautiful Thanksgiving, full of too  much food and thankful to be surrounded by family and friends.]

 Here we are on Thanksgiving Eve where people are busy preparing for one of the biggest eating holidays of the year, if not the biggest.  The good china is coming out for the table, people are fighting the craziness of the grocery stores, and kitchens are Command Central for the festivities.

I am not making dinner for Thanksgiving, but I am responsible for bringing appetizers for thirteen, which is an infinitely easier task than dinner.  There's a good chance that during this holiday season, I will make a turkey breast so I can have my own cache of leftovers and make stock.  But before any of that happens, let's go back a couple of weeks to my last post.  It was all about the pumpkin and I warned you that there would probably be another pumpkin post because I still had pumpkin to use.  This is that post.

I made gnocchi once before and for a first attempt it was a little disappointing.  They were heavy little lumps of dough that tasted okay, but beyond that...well, I wasn't happy.  So this time around, instead of using regular all purpose flour I used '00' flour.  A much better choice.  They were hearty without being heavy.  Serving pumpkin gnocchi in a brown butter and sage sauce?  The best choice.

Pumpkin Gnocchi in Brown Butter and Sage Sauce
(Adapted from this recipe)
Serves 2-4

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups '00' flour  (plus extra for rolling out)
1 egg
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sage, chopped

In a bowl, mix the pumpkin, flour, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  With a fork, bring all the ingredients together to give you a sticky, but not overly wet dough.  Add a little more flour by the tablespoon if you need to.  

Working in small portion, roll each piece of dough out into a hotdog shaped log, about 12 inches long.  With a knife or dough scraper, cut the dough into little pillow shapes about and inch long.  On the cut side, press down with the tines of a fork to form ridges and give you that slightly oval shape.  Spread gnocchi on a flour dusted pan until you work through all your dough.

In a pot, bring salted water to a boil and add enough gnocchi, but don't crowd the pot.  The gnocchi will cook within 3-5 minutes and they'll float to the top when they're done.  In a skillet, add the butter and melt over medium high heat.  Allow it to foam and begin to brown.  When little brown bits form and it smells nutty, add the sage.  Let the sage crisp for about 20 seconds, turn off the heat then add the gnocchi.  Mix to coat the pasta and serve.

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