As defined by the loveliest web encyclopedia there ever was, gnocchi can be described as 'various thick, soft doughs dumplings that may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato, bread crumbs, or similar ingredients.'
I fell in love with these delicious pillows of joy at Olive Garden enveloped in a creamy soup. When I struggled with the pronunciation upon ordering, the waiter (incorrectly) offered 'no-key'.
After innumerable Olive Garden orders, learning to make the pasta myself, and two trips to Italy, I still had no idea that I was pronouncing the word incorrectly. When preparing my roommate for the inevitable flour fest that was about to go down in the kitchen, I explained that I'd be making 'no-key' for my article this week. Being a quarter Italian, she simply gave a puzzled look, paused slightly and offered the simple suggestion, 'Oh, you mean 'knee-oh-key.''
With that enlightenment, I set off on my quest to both summon fall and satiate my hunger by making pumpkin gnocchi.
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups flour (possibly more)
1 egg yolk
? tbsp nutmeg (optional)
What you do:
Unless you typically find yourself pureeing vegetables in your spare time, you'll probably just want to get some pumpkin from the store. Be sure you don't get pie filling! These two are not the same, and pie filling will, in fact, make this recipe super weird.
Simmer the pumpkin to let it 'dry out.' I have no idea what this means. I assume that a can is torture for a pumpkin, so it is natural for the pumpkin to cry, creating a general wetness that can be harmful to your gnocchi. Upon simmering the pumpkin, steam will rise, indicating water is leaving the puree thus leaving it drier.
Let the pumpkin cool down.
Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix them together. A spoon or spatula might help at first, but eventually you'll need to stick your hands in to get a general feel for how sticky the dough is.
Flour your countertop and place the dough onto it.
Continue to slowly add more flour if your dough is sticky. When it stops sticking to your hands, you know you're in good shape.
Separate the dough into individual balls, and roll the dough out into long, skinny pieces.
Cut the strands into smaller, one-inch (ish) pieces.
This part is totally optional. If perhaps you find that making gnocchi is actually your life's calling, you would probably roll your professional gnocchi on a gnocchi board. This board would put indentations into your noodles. However, this process can be imitated with the back of a fork. This is really just for 'funsies,' and makes your noodles look a little more 'finished' in my opinion. It will in no way enhance or detract from the taste of the pasta.
Boil them babies! (said in really ridiculous exaggerated southern accent) Bring some salt water to a boil, and stick your noodles inside. When they rise to the top of the water, you'll know they're done!
Gnocchi can be used just like any other pasta! So throw some marinara, mozzarella, or pesto on it and get to munching! Since this particular gnocchi is made with pumpkin, it can be the base for a more savory dish as well. However, I didn't find that the taste of the pumpkin to be too overpowering for typical pasta sauces.
Best of luck!