(Above: This gnocchi dish can be served as an appetizer or as a main course.)
In most anything in life, you have to work with what you have. And in cooking, the seasons dictate what ingredients are best or available. On a recent trip to Calareso’s Farm Stand in Reading, Mass. I was intrigued by one pound packages of pumpkin gnocchi.
Now I’ve cooked gnocchi before, usually in a tomato sauce, but the savory pumpkin flavor needed something else. So I brainstormed. Pumpkin pie is good with whipped cream so I opted to go with a cream sauce and a little hint of nutmeg.
But this wasn’t going to be dessert. I had to keep it (dinner) real. Cheese would help keep the dish on the savory side and I decided the nutty taste of fontina, combined with some freshly grated imported parmesan cheese would do the trick.
I then imagined all of this gooey, sweet, savoriness melting in my mouth, but it was missing something: a healthy clean foil to the heavy richness. I decided it needed some greens. I had some broccoli rabe on hand and decided to give it a go.
The result was a sweet, savory, gooey piece of heaven, offset by the bitterness of a good healthy green vegetable. The icing on this savory cake? Thinly sliced almonds.
Note: This will serve four as a main course. Gnocchi is very filling. You don’t need much for each serving.
Pumpkin Gnocchi in an Almond Cream Sauce
This doesn't take long to make, perfect for a weeknight supper. However, it will impress guests too.
- Pumpkin gnocchi (1 pound)
- Fontina Cheese (4 ounces, chopped up)
- Imported parmesan cheese (1/3 cup or to taste)
- Heavy cream (About 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
- Scallions (About five or six, chopped)
- Broccoli Rabe (1 small bunch, cleaned of leaves and stems. Keep only about an inch or two of stem after the floret. Cut florets in half length-wise.)
- Almonds (About 1/8 cup, sliced thin)
- Nutmeg (A small dash, just a few specks. Be careful.)
- Salt, pepper (to taste)
- Step 1 Steam broccoli rabe until done, but not soggy. Don’t overcook. It should have some bite. (I used a large pasta pot with a colander insert and steaming basket. It’s one of my favorite and most used cooking tools. )
- Step 2 Cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling water for about three minutes (just until they float). Don’t overcook.
- Step 3 In a saute pan cook the scallions until translucent and then add the cream, heating it up, but don’t let it boil. Add a small dash of nutmeg: we’re talking a few specks here. Nutmeg is very strong and can easily overpower a dish. Taste it. You just want a hint of nutmeg flavor. You can always add more if you like, but once you put it in, you can’t take it out. Be careful!
- Step 4 Add cream sauce, fontina cheese, parmesan cheese, sliced almonds, and broccoli rabe to the cooked gnocchi and stir until cheese melts and everything is well blended.
- Step 5 Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a side salad.