Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gluten-free Pumpkin Gnocchi

Nothing says autumn more than bright orange pumpkins, which are plentiful at my farmers market. So I couldn't resist buying a turban pumpkin last week; if you saw what it looked like, I don't think you could resist it either! The farmer said it had a very mild flavor, and he was right. It wasn't too sweet or pumpkiny, which is just fine! I was happy to try a new variety.

Although I don't have celiac disease, I try to limit/balance the amount of wheat flour I ingest. Gnocchi, which are basically Italian dumplings, usually require a lot of white wheat (all-purpose) flour. I've made it many times with rice flour, as well as a combination of wheat and rice flours, and it turns out really well - moist and tender! The trick with gnocchi is to avoid using too much flour, or the end result will be a hard blob of dough. 
My turban squash was very mild in flavor. You could use it or a butternut squash or even sweet potato. They all are rich in vitamin A, which is great for your eyes and skin, but which requires fat in order to be properly absorbed. I recommend roasting whichever vegetable you choose to highlight its flavor and be rid of its extra moisture, as the more moist/watery your puree, the more flour you may need to add.

The sauce here is very simple using just coconut oil or butter, sage, hazelnuts and pasta water. From there, you can add what you like. If you like your pumpkin gnocchi sweeter, add a drizzle of honey.

The gnocchi take around 2 hours to cook and shape and is a generous portion for 4. It's a perfectly meditative task and at the end of it you're rewarded with a special meal that is hard to find in restaurants. Please enjoy!
Pumpkin Gnocchi
Serves 4

1 kilogram roasted pumpkin/butternut squash/sweet potato puree
3 cups rice flour (you could also use half rice flour and half white wheat flour if you didn't want to keep it gluten-free)
1/2 cup chickpea flour*
1 1/4 tsp salt
A pinch of nutmeg

50 grams butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup of chopped hazelnuts
A handful of fresh or dried sage leaves
1 cup of gnocchi water
A pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper

1. Mix the pumpkin puree, 2 cups rice flour, chickpea flour, salt and nutmeg together with a spatula.

2. Flour your surface with rice flour and place about a half cup of your sticky dough, dusting the top with more rice flour and rolling into a log. Cut each into about one-inch pieces, dab in some flour and run over a fork to create those gnocchi ridges. Place on a parchment-lined plate/tray. Repeat with the rest. Note that the dough is sticky but you need to use just enough flour so that it rolls into a log and so that you're able to cut and shape it.  

3. Once all the gnocchi is shaped, bring water to a boil in a large pot and cook the gnocchi in batches so that they don't stick together. Once the gnocchi float to the top, let it simmer a minute and then fish them out of the water and onto a plate with a little of the cooking water. Repeat with the next batch.

4. Meanwhile make the sauce: Add the butter or coconut oil, hazelnuts and sage into a dry pan and then place on low heat. Stir occasionally so that the nuts don't burn, but allow the butter and nuts to toast until fragrant. Then add water, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir in the gnocchi gently. Serve immediately on a bed of garlicy sauteed kale and garnish with pumpkin seeds.

*If you don't like the nutty flavor of protein-rich chickpea flour, you can substitute it with rice or wheat flour.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this recipe! I like making gnocchi or the Ukrainian version of them called "linyvi varenyky" --"lazy dumplings," but I always end up using waaay too much flour. Also, I don't like using too much wheat, anyway. I'll be trying to make these with my thelma sanders sweet potato squash.




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