From The Venetian Tradition: Pumpkin Gnocchi
Native to Central America (the oldest seeds were found in Mexico and date back to 7000-6000 BC), the butternut squash or pumpkin, along with the potato and the tomato, was one of the first vegetables exported after the discovery of America. It belongs to the large family of cucurbits, rich in variety, shapes and color.
The most famous species are the “cucurbita maxima” (sweet pumpkin) and the “cucurbita moschata” (pumpkin pepona) that can reach large dimensions and even weigh 80 kg. This vegetable is able to “fill” an entire menu, from appetizers to desserts, since many are its “virtues” and each dish will therefore be tasty and healthy.
In a Venetian document of the State Archives of 1483, the pumpkin is listed among the products grown in the garden of a monastery located on an island in the northern lagoon, near Torcello.
It was a type of pumpkin certainly different from today’s, originating from Central and South America, which did not arrive in Italy until 1500.
This type was probably imported from South Asia, where it was known and cultivated, in different varieties, from the most ancient peoples, including the Egyptians, the Romans, the Arabs and the Greeks.
Pumpkin gnocchi: a recipe from a friend
Today my dear friend Monica Campaner of TuttiPossonoCucinare, another fellow food blogger from AIFB, Associazione Italian Food Blogger, has kindly shared her own recipe with us.
Monica comes from the countryside of Treviso, was raised among fruits and vegetables, and he is very aware of the importance of using only seasonal products. She offers cooking classes and cooking demos all over Italy.
How to prepare Pumpkin Gnocchi
How to prepare homemade pumpkin gnocchi, in a very simple way, with half pumpkin and half potatoes – also excellent to freeze and to preserve for the long winter. Recipe tested by some very good cooks.
Ingredients For 4 people
1/2 kg of floury potatoes
Â½ kg of pumpkin
300 grams of 00 flour
To prepare the gnocchi, choose both pumpkin and potatoes of floury quality. Wash the potatoes and place them in a pan with cold water. When the water is boiling, cook for about 15 minutes. Drain and peel immediately when hot, then mash with a potato masher in a bowl.
Now proceed with the pumpkin: cut it into pieces, remove seeds and peel and cook in the oven or steam. Once cooked, sieve it, creating a nice cream, loosing all filaments. Add it to the mashed potatoes.
In the same bowl where you put the potatoes and the pumpkin, add the egg, salt, nutmeg and the flour a little at a time enough, to create a smooth and homogeneous dough. Prepare a wooden board sprinkled with 00 flour, where you put the dough. Work it in small pieces creating with the fingers some small sausages. With a scraper or a smooth blade, cut the gnocchi all the same size and place them on a tray.
To cook the gnocchi prepare a high pan with water, add salt and bring to a boil. Toss a little gnocchi at a time in water, when they rise to the surface, they are cooked. Remove them using a skimmer and throw them in the sauce you have chosen.
This is how to prepare homemade pumpkin gnocchi in a simple way that will surely bring a lot of compliments your way.
I decided to season the pumpkin gnocchi with melted butter and knife-cut almonds, browned in butter. The soft part of the gnocchi goes perfectly well with the crunchy almonds – to complete I added ground nutmeg on top.
The gnocchi with pumpkin can also be stored in the freezer in two ways: uncooked, as you prepared them you freeze them in the trays and then put them in the bags, or do a pre-cooking and then put them in a bowl with a thread of oil, freeze them like this. Just throw them in water without defrosting them at the time of use.