Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter and Spicy Italian Sausage

Okay so this is pretty simple but it won’t be your soft pillowy type gnocchi made out of ricotta; this is a potato dumpling. The secret is how large you cut the gnocchi. The smaller the dumpling, the “softer” they will be.

What you will need (for 2 servings of gnocchi):

  • 1 large baking potato (baked, skin removed and cooled)
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan

Using a potato ricer or grater, rice or grate the potato into small bits and add the pumpkin puree; don’t mix too much but be sure it is incorporated completely. The potato should yield ~ 1 1/2 cups.

Mix the flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper and place on a working surface like a marble or granite countertop (or a wooden cutting board if you wish). Make a well in the center and place the potato/pumpkin mixture on top of the flour mixture, make another well in the pumpkin/potato mixture and add the egg. Whisk the egg to incorporate the white/yolk together and begin to incorporate all ingredients with your hands.

Begin to fold over the flour from the outer “mound” onto the top and just continue to fold on top of each other until it comes together; be sure not to over mix! When you feel like to is incorporated, mold into a small loaf type shape and cut off 1/4 and roll into a rope like shape.

Begin to cut the ropes into bite sized pieces but don’t make the mistake I did and make them too big, the perfect size for your fork is best! While you are cutting them, make sure they are covered in flour so they don’t stick to the plate.

If I am not making a mess, I am not cooking!

Continue with the remaining “loaf” and cut the rest of the gnocchi. While you are cutting, set a large pot of salted water on the stove on high heat; you want to taste the water and it needs to taste like the sea. Don’t skimp on the salt!

You will want to start cooking the Italian sausage at this point (see note) and I just placed it in a 325 degree oven while I finished off the rest.

Note: I just used the type of sausage you get from the butcher and cut two edges off of the sides of the “block”, enough for two servings. You can use links but you’ll want to remove the casing if you do but maybe not, that’s just my preference.

Once the water is at a rolling boil, drop the gnocchi into the water and pull from the pot when it rises to the top (which signifies it is done for this stage). I use a spider to remove it but a slotted spoon will do just make sure you drain the water really well before you place it on the plate. Once they are cooked, they look a little more orange and glossy. Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy water in which you cooked the gnocchi.

The gnocchi just out of the pot and the spider I use for easy removal from the boiling water.

Now place the butter in a large skillet and heat to sizzling then add the gnocchi; sprinkle with the cheese. Don’t disturb it, you want to get a “crust” on one side while the other stays “soft”; this will take maybe 5 minutes. Remove gnocchi to a plate and work on the sauce.

The gnocchi with a “one-sided crust”.

The Italian sausage has to be ready by now so remove it from the oven and cut into the same size pieces as the gnocchi. Set aside for now.

The sauce is super simple! Here is what you will need:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 6-8 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 clove of smashed garlic
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • Reserved starchy water
  • Parmesan for shaving
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds chopped

In the same skillet in which you cooked the gnocchi, place the butter, sage leaves and garlic. Cook on medium high heat until the sage gets crispy. Remove the sage leaves and the garlic and reserve the leaves.

Place the flour in the pan and whisk to combine and remove any lumps. Cook for 3-5 minutes to ensure you cook the “raw” flavor out of the flour then add the heavy cream; you should have a thicker type slurry in the pan at this point. Combine well reducing the heat to medium then slowly whisking in the water.

Once combined, add back in the gnocchi and the Italian sausage until well combined and both are warmed through. Place in two bowls and top with crispy sage leaves and shaved Parmesan. I decided after that sprinkling the chopped pumpkin seeds on top would add the perfect texture!


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