Friday, October 31, 2008

For Halloween: Pumpkin gnocchi with ginger cream sauce and shiitake mushrooms

Kind of a last-minute improvisation.

For the gnocchi:

1 c. cooked, pureed pumpkin
1 c. flour, plus more as needed
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until mixed evenly into a dough. It won't ever become smooth enough to knead, just mix until it comes together into a ball.

Dust the counter liberally with flour, divide the dough into pieces and roll/shape each piece into a 1/2" thick rope (I kept the dough fairly wet, which made it difficult to roll but fairly easy to shape).

Using dough scraper or knife, cut each rope into 1" chunks, turn each chunk a half turn (they will have been flattened by the cutting), and slightly flatten (in the other direction) with tines of a fork. Put all on a baking sheet, and place in freezer.

(I was only making dinner for three tonight, so I only ended up using a little over half of the gnocchi, and saving the rest in a bag once frozen)

For the ginger cream sauce with shiitake mushrooms

1 TBSP butter
1-2" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
6-8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes then drained and chopped
good pour of cream (maybe 1/4 cup?)

Once the gnocchi are in the freezer, soak the shiitake in boiling water for 30 minutes (you can also probably use fresh shiitakes, they'll just take a little more time in the fry-pan). Drain, pouring the soaking water through a coffee filter and reserving for another use. Mince up the ginger.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil.

When water is approaching boiling, heat butter in large fry-pan over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, add ginger and stir to coat.

Once water is boiling, add gnocchi (from freezer) to boiling water.

Add mushrooms to fry-pan, cook for a few minutes over medium-low heat.

Add cream to fry-pan and heat until bubbly. If sauce gets too thick, add spoonfuls of pasta-cooking water.

As gnocchi begin to float to the top of the pot, remove with slotted spoon and place directly in cream sauce and toss to coat. Continue until all gnocchi have come to top of water. If sauce in fry-pan is too thick, thin with a little pasta-cooking water.

Salt to taste.

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