Pumpkin Gnocchi

When we were newly married, my husband used to surprise me by cooking special one off meals. On one such occasion, he made the most perfect pumpkin gnocchi. Alas, we didn’t save the recipe. I have been wanting to replicate the same for many years and after lots of trial and error, this recipe works and thus ending my quest for the perfect pumpkin gnocchi recipe. This is slow cooking and perfect if you want to spend a Sunday afternoon lovingly preparing for the family for dinner.


1kg pumpkin (I used a piece of crown pumpkin with the blue grey skin)

2 teaspoons olive oil

450 grams flour plus more for rolling out gnocchi

1 whole nutmeg, grated freshly

½ teaspoon white pepper

A couple of pinches of sugar

50 grams grated parmesan cheese

2 egg yolks

70 grams salted butter

30 sage leaves

Salt to taste

Lemon rind and shavings of Parmesan to serve


Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a deep walled baking tray with aluminium foil. Remove the pith and seeds for the pumpkin piece. Smear the olive oil on to the surface of the pumpkin piece. Put the piece on the prepared tray and in the oven for 80 to 90 minutes until soft and lightly brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

When cool enough to handle (slightly warm to the touch), peel off and discard the skins. Cut the piece into smaller chunks and put the chunks through a potato ricer a few at a time. Repeat with all the pumpkin and rice into a large mixing bowl. Mix salt, a couple of pinches of sugar, white pepper and the nutmeg as well as the grated parmesan into the pumpkin.

Make a well in the centre of the pumpkin mixture and add the two egg yolks.

Begin to combine the mixture, adding the flour a little at a time until you get a slightly wet dough. You should be able to roll and shape into gnocchi. Allow to rest for ten to fifteen minutes.

Sprinkle flour liberally onto a dry bench. Take a small portion (an eighth) of the dough and roll into a long cigar about 2 centimetres wide. Use the back of a floured table knife, cut each length of the cigar into 2 centimetre individual gnocchi pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough and it is best to cook them as you are rolling them.

Bring a large stock pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a teaspoon of salt. Add the gnocchi, simmer for about 2 minutes until they start to float. Scoop the gnocchi with a large slotted spoon and leave them to steam dry on a large platter.

Heat a fry pan over medium high heat. Add about 25 grams of butter and when hot, fry the sage leaves and set aside. In the same butter, add the cooked gnocchi a few at a time. Fry for a couple of minutes until the bottoms are nicely caramelized. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.

When all the gnocchi have been fried, add the remaining butter to the pan. Allow the butter solids to toast giving a nice burnt buttery aroma.

Serve the gnocchi in individual plates and spoon the burnt butter sauce. Arrange 5-6 sage leaves on each serve. Shave some parmesan over each bowl along with lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

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