This post has been a long time coming. A year in fact. This time last year I had not long returned from a couple of weeks of design, food and culture in Northen Italy. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to travel over for Eurocucina, a huge kitchen design tradeshow held just outside of Milan.
We ate and ate and ate. At the hotel restaurant in Moltrasio, perched on the edge of Lake Como (I did keep my eyes permanently peeled for Gorgeous George, but sadly never spotted that silver fox), the waiters wore white dinner jackets and each course was presented to us upon silver platters, silver cloches lifted table-side to reveal the culinary delights hidden below. At the trade show we stood for espresso (several times a day) and chewed on Panini. While visiting a vendor near our factory in Borso del Grappa, Veneto, we were lucky enough to be treated to lunch at a particularly unassuming-looking trattoria where plate after plate of the most beautiful, silky, rich pasta was brought out to be shared among the table, along with a plate of the best gnocchi to ever pass my lips.
For the past year I have been working on and off on my gnocchi technique and this is my Australian-born, Kiwi-raised, and Italian–inspired version. Frying gnocchi is something that is very common here, but I doubt it is that authentic!
500g (1.1 lb) pumpkin, peeled and cubed
500g (1.1 lb)Agria potatoes, washed but not peeled
150g (5.3 oz) high grade flour
75g (2.6 oz) parmesan, finely grated, plus extra for serving
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Salt & pepper
Olive oil and butter for frying
Sage butter sauce
½ cup sage leaves
100g (3.5 oz) butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 180ºC (350° F) on Bake
1. Arrange pumpkin pieces on a lined baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast until tender (approximately 30 minutes).
2. Meanwhile boil the potatoes in salted water with the skins on until tender. Drain well and peel with a paring knife while still hot. (If the potatoes are not hot when peeled they can become gluey when mashed.)
3. Place peeled potatoes in a large mixing bowl, add roasted pumpkin pieces and mash until very smooth. Make a well in the centre.
4. Add egg, parmesan, nutmeg, and half the flour. Mix together with a butter knife until just combined.
5. Turn out onto a floured bench, season well with salt and pepper, and slowly incorporate as much of the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. It is important not to overwork the mixture.
6. Divide dough into thirds, and roll out into lengths approx 1 inch thick. Sprinkle with a little flour and cut on the diagonal into 1½ inch long pieces. Gently place gnocchi onto a floured tray.
7. Boil a large pot of salted water. Heat a little oil and butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan.
8. Boil gnocchi in batches. They will rise to the surface when cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon, and transfer to frying pan.
9. Fry until golden, turning once. Keep cooked gnocchi warm in a low oven until all gnocchi are cooked.
Serve immediately with sage butter sauce and shaved parmesan.
Sage butter sauce
In a medium-sized pan, heat butter over a low heat. Once melted, add sage leaves and fry until crisp. Remove pan from heat and add garlic. Spoon over cooked gnocchi.