(Adapted from Martha Stewart)
1 3 lb. sugar pumpkin (~2 cups for the gnocchi and ~ 1/4 cup for the sauce)
2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1 cup of for the gnocchi, 1/4 cup for the sauce)
Salt and pepper
1 stick butter
2 shallots, chopped tiny
1/2 lb. Shiitake mushrooms, stems out and sliced
1 cup chicken or veggie broth
1 cup heavy cream
6-7 pieces of fresh sage
1 Tbsp. salt
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Chopped parsley, for garnish
For the gnocchi:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove pumpkin’s stem and cut it in half from top to bottom. Using a spoon, remove the fleshy insides and all of the seeds. Separate the seeds from the flesh and place in a separate bowl. Place pumpkin halves on a baking sheet, flesh side up, and pour 1 Tbsp. of water into each half. Season with a small dusting of salt and pepper. Cover each half with foil and place in oven. Cook for about 45 minutes or until flesh is very soft and easy to poke through with a fork. Take out of oven and let cool. Remove from skin, transfer to bowl and throw away the skin. Baked/roasted pumpkin flesh can be very stringy so we gotta fix that. Once pumpkin is cool to the touch, throw it all into a food processor or blender and pulse until completely smooth.
Using a very large work surface sprinkled all over with flour (either your counter top, or over parchment/wax paper - although I’d recommend straight on the counter), create a mound with the flour, nutmeg and salt. Mix together with a spoon and create a hole in the center. Add 2 cups of pumpkin and 1 cup of Parmesan into the middle. Start incorporating flour into the center mound and continue doing so until it’s all incorporated. It takes about 5-7 minutes until the flour is well incorporated and the dough is smooth. Keep adding flour and knead another couple of minutes. Friendly tip: make sure your work surface is well floured - the surface getting very sticky is an understatement.
Once it’s totally smooth, break into 6 even sections and roll each one into a long, 1-inch thick log. Using a very sharp knife cut into 1/2 inch pieces of gnocchi and place on a baking sheet. If you don’t want to cook right away, they can stay at room temperature for about 2-3 hours when covered with a hand towel or tea towel. Make sure you moisten the towel SLIGHTLY. You can also store in the freezer for up to 4 hours before serving.
For the sauce:
Using a cast iron skillet or medium pan, swirl butter until slightly bubbly and then add shallots. Cook until shallots turn slightly brown. Add mushrooms, sage and salt and pepper to taste, cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth, cream, 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until it thickens slightly.
While sauce is cooking, bring a big pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add salt (don’t skimp). Keeping the heat high so the water continues to boil, add the gnocchi. You need to constantly watch these little pillows of heaven. They’re done as soon as they float to the top. As they float up, remove to a baking sheet with a slotted spoon. As soon as they’re all done, toss them into the skillet with the sauce. Make sure all of the gnocchi are coated in the sauce and serve in large bowls. Top with freshly grated Parmesan, freshly grated nutmeg and chopped parsley. Enjoy autumn in an extremely decadent bowl.
PS. Remember those pumpkin seeds you removed earlier? Make sure they’re all free from the flesh of the pumpkin, toss in a very generous amount of olive oil, season with salt and any spice you’d like and broil on low in the oven for 4 minutes. Check to see if they’re toasted and if not, keep in for another minute or two. Use as a garnish in soups, salads or as a healthy snack.