Indian Pumpkin Gnocchi
Y’all it’s cold. Like 45 and raining cold. Thank goodness for warming spices like curry and five spice. This recipe was given to me by a classmate back in culinary school. She was part Indian and raved about it and I absolutely see why. This dish will challenge your fine tuned, Italian-gnocchi palate and gently introduce you to the complex and mystifying world of Indian spices. The pasta making is a bit labor intensive but honestly, it’s worth it. I’m going to give y’all the recipe here but add some notes on how I’d develop the flavors further.
- 2 ¼ cups AP Flour + ¼ AP flour
- 1 egg
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp curry powder
- 8 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
- ½ stick of butter
- 1 cup fennel, julienne
- 1 cup leek, julienne
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp five spice powder (this is located on the international aisle)
- pepitas to garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- extra flour and butter on hand
- Large pot
- slotted spoon
- 2 sautee pans
- measuring cups and spoons
- spatula or bench scraper
- gnocchi roller (optional, I don’t have one, tastes just as good)
- large cutting board
- Mise en place
- Boil your stock and keep warm. Bring back to a boil after pasta is made.
For the pasta dough:
- Mix your flour, baking powder, salt, and a pinch of the curry together.
- Turn out flour mixture onto your counter or a large cutting board and create a well in the center, reserving that extra ¼ cup for dusting the counter and kneading.
- Put the pumpkin puree and egg in the middle of the well and begin to mix with the fork. Once you get the mixture incorporated, begin working flour in from the outer edges and when large clumps form continue to mix until dough is ready for kneading.
- Knead gently for about one minute being careful not to overwork the dough.
- Divide the dough into 4 portions and roll each portion into thin ropes.
- Cut the gnocchi to your desired size and shape on your gnocchi board if you have one. I left mine looking like little pillows.
- Boil the stock and add the gnocchi. Simmer for 3-4 minutes then remove pot from the heat.
- Optional: Sautee gnocchi in second pan with butter. I like a little browning on mine but you certainly don’t need to reach that point.
For the sauce:
- Heat your large sautee pan then add the butter and let it melt undisturbed.
- When it begins to brown, add the fennel and leeks and sautee.
- Dust your pan with about 3 tbsp of flour to create a roux. Cook until the roux begins to slightly brown, about 4 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of the stock to your pan and stir. From this point you can add more stock if you want a looser sauce and then add the five spice, sugar, remaining curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a couple of minutes and then add gnocchi and toss in sauce.
- Serve on the side of chicken or as a stand alone dish.
- Roux – Pronounced roo. a roux is a mixture of fat and flour. It has the consistency of wet sand and is typically equal parts rendered fat, like clarified butter, and flour. Your mother sauces are often built off of a roux. It helps thicken them immediately when you add your stock, cream, whatever.
- Singer – Pronounced sahn-jay. Singer is the French term that means to dust with flour. Which is what you do to build a roux around your vegetables.
- If you want to add some coconut milk when incorporating your stock, I think it’d add a really lovely note of depth to the veloute (pronounced vel-oot-tay, mother sauce #1, just stock and roux)
- I’m a sucker for caramelized fennel. This is a lengthy process but would certainly enhance the flavors in this dish if you did this ahead of time.