If pumpkin is your thing and you are a lover of the Italian cuisine too, homemade smooth and flavourful pumpkin gnocchi bathed in browned sage butter will be the perfect dish for you.
If pumpkin season could only be longer.
I don’t know about you, but I could eat pumpkin every day of the year. But maybe that might be too much and it’s a good thing pumpkin is only around a short three months. However, during this time, pumpkin will be the star in my kitchen, and I will prepare it in all sorts of styles from savoury to sweet.
Pumpkin gnocchi are a favourite and they are just perfect tossed around in abundant sage butter. Soft and simple yet packed with flavour, they are the perfect autumn/fall weeknight dish.
Gnocchi are a staple in the Italian cuisine, and they are easier made than you might think. For this classic Italian dish, you need only few ingredients and putting together the dough is straightforward and definitely less demanding compared to making pasta.
Gnocchi are indeed not a pasta. They are part of the dumpling family. Originally made with potatoes, you will now find many recipes based on ricotta and mixed with a wide range of different vegetables like spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, watercress and many more.
To soften the pumpkin and turn it into pumpkin mash, you could either put it in the oven or cook it in salted water. The latter would be quicker (about 20 minutes instead of at least 40 minutes in the oven). But I found if you want to make gnocchi with the pumpkin mash, it works better softening the pumpkin in the oven. That way, the pulp will not only soften but also dry out, which works better for the consistency of the dough.
Wine Pairing: What wines work well with pumpkin gnocchi
There are a range of wine – both white and red – that pair well with pumpkin. As usual, your best match depends on the cooking style and dominant ingredients.
For pumpkin gnocchi with sage butter look for whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, California Chardonnay or a nice Soave from Italy’s Veneto area. As for reds, Malbec from Argentina, an Italian Amarone, or Pinot Noir all would work well too.
For the pumpkin gnocchi, this time I have picked a Pinot Noir from Domaine Régnard in Burgundy. Thanks to its fresh taste, lighter body, and slightly spicy notes, it turned out an excellent match.
About Domaine Régnard
Founded in 1860 by Zephir Régnard, Domaine Régnard is one of the oldest wineries located in the Chablis area of Burgundy.
Chablis is the most northern located Burgundy appellation, and actually closer to Champagne than a number of other Burgundy wine areas. As such, the area is particularly well known to produce excellent dry white wines from Chardonnay grapes. In fact, no other grape variety is allowed to be grown in any of the four official Chablis appellations. Thanks to the areas ancient Jurassic soils, the wines are high in minerality with steely accents.
Today, after the winery was bought by Baron Patrick de Ladoucette in the 1980s, Domaine Régnard forms part of Château du Nozet and its various vineyards/wineries.
Whilst Chablis remains Domaine Régnard’s flagship wines, they also produce two different types of Pinot Noir, the Hautes Cote de Beaune, and the Bourgogne Pinot Noir.
Tasting Notes: Régnard Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Domaine Régnard Bourgogne Pinot Noir is a wine that is perfect enjoyed young but also offers excellent aging potential.
In the glass, a light ruby red typical for young Burgundy Pinot Noirs.
On the nose, intense aromas of red currant, cherry, and strawberry with notes of violet and hints of spice.
On the palate, light bodied and well-balanced with fruit notes. High acidity. Long finish.
Recipe: Pumpkin Gnocchi with sage butter
200 g pumpkin (Hokkaido or Butternut), in small pieces
30 g ground parmesan
250 g ricotta
300 g all-purpose flour
6-7 stalks of sage
150 g butter
juice and zest of one orange
150 g parmesan
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Distribute pumpkin on top of the baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and bake pumpkin for about 40-45 minutes until soft.
Take out of the oven and set aside for 10-15 minutes to let slightly cool. Finely mash the pumpkin using either a potato press or a fork.
In a bowl, mix 30 g of ground parmesan, ricotta, eggs, and flour. Season with a pinch of salt and ground nutmeg. Add mashed pumpkin and quickly work into the mix.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out small portions of the pumpkin dough. Cut into circa 2+2 cm pieces than roll into small balls again. Use a fork to press down lightly to give the gnocchi their classic form.
In a large saucepan, bring abundant slightly salted water to a simmer. Add gnocchi in batches and let cook until they will float to the top (which means they are ready). Take out and let drain.
In the meantime, melt butter in a large skillet. When the butter starts to foam, add sage leaves and continue to cook for another minute, then add the zest and juice of the orange. Add gnocchi and toss around for 1-2 minutes until they take on a golden-brownish colour.
Serve topped with the remaining ground parmesan.