Inspired by pumpkin – gnocchi, pesto & pie

It always puts a smile on my face when I open an email full of delicious recipes and equally delicious looking photos.  (It also makes me very hungry.)  These lovely recipes were sent in by Aidan, a cook and Food Action contributor who loves local produce. At home, he plays with his food just for fun, and to add variety to a restricted protein diet. He’s been cooking for about nine years and his recipes are not all vegetarian, but do feature a lot of vegetables.

I got a pumpkin recently and I made several dishes with it. I can’t believe I got so much out of one pumpkin. Most of the fresh ingredients were local, either from Dave’s Fruit and Vegetable Market in Dartmouth or from the Seaport Market.

The savoury plate is a lamb sausage, pan-fried pumpkin gnocchi, julienne carrot and red pepper, sauteed baby portabello and chanterelle mushrooms, wilted rainbow chard, dried apple-pumpkin seed pesto, toasted hazelnut cream sauce, and sage. It’s everything that fell out of the horn of plenty.

The dessert is pumpkin pie with toasted pumpkin seeds, cranberry coulis and pumpkin Chantilly cream.

Hope you like them.

– Aidan

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Roasted pumpkin flesh, riced and reduced so that there’s more pulp and less liquid, 1 3/4c
All purpose Flour, 2 3/4 cups to  3 1/4 cups
Salt, 1/2 tsp
Pepper, 1/2 Tbsp
Egg yolk, 2
Olive Oil, 2 Tbsp
Dijon mustard, 2 Tbsp

Using a medium-sized pumpkin (about 10-12 inches tall and wide) slice your pumpkin through the centre, from top to bottom, and clear out the guts with your hands or a spoon. Coat the pumpkin skin in cooking oil and place cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Roast the pumpkin at 375F for about an hour-and-a-half or two. When the pumpkin is out of the oven and cooling, remove the skin from the outside. Take the flesh and place it in a strainer to strain overnight. Reserve the guts and seeds. Reserve any pumpkin juices you can from the roasting pan or from straining, and strain all of it through a coffee filter to remove dirt and impurities.

Using the recipe amount of pumpkin, combine it with the other ingredients until  homogenous and smooth. The dough should be soft, pliable and not too stiff. On a floured surface, working with a large handful of dough at a time, roll the dough into logs about 1/2-3/4 inch in diameter. Using the side of a fork, cut 3/4 inch chunks of dough off the log and then lightly press them with the bottom of the fork to leave a ridged imprint in the dough. In batches, drop the dough into at least 2 litres of boiling, salted water and continue to boil each batch until gnocchis float. After a minute of floating, remove them from the water and lightly toss in oil to prevent them from sticking to each other. Cool, cover and store, or use immediately.

Dried Apple, Pumpkin Seed and Sage Pesto

Dried Apple Rings. 3/4 cup, rough chopped
Garlic, 1 medium to large clove, minced
Spinach, 3/4 cup, chopped
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, 2/3 cup
Sage (fresh), 6 Tbsp, chopped
Parmesan Cheese, 1/3 cup, grated
Olive Oil, 3/4 cup
Red wine vinegar, 2 tsp
s+p to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until mixture is not quite smooth. I left mine kind of chunky just because I like to feel the dried apple chunks.

Hazelnut Cream Sauce

Hazelnuts, 1/3 cup, toasted and rough chopped
Shallot, 1 medium, minced
Garlic, 1 large clove, minced
Grainy Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp
Lemon juice, 2 tsp
Heavy Cream 1.5 cup

Toast hazelnuts in oven at 300F until they are milk chocolatey in colour, beneath their skin and into their centres, 30-45 minutes. Cool and remove skins. In a saucepan, sweat shallot and garlic until lightly coloured. Add cream and mustard, stir and cook over medium heat until cream scalds. Buzz with an immersion blender to puree. Add chopped hazelnuts and reduce until cream is nape. Squeeze 2 tsp of lemon juice into the cream and season with salt and pepper.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

Drained and riced pumpkin puree, 1.5 cup
Heavy Cream, 1/2 cup
Milk 2%, 1/2 cup
Eggs, 2 XL
AP Flour, 4 Tbsp
Brown sugar, 6 Tbsp
Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp
Allspice, 1/2 tsp
Cardamom, 1/3 tsp
Ginger,1/2 tsp
Nutmeg, 1/8 tsp
Combine all ingrediants and blend until homogenous. Bake in a baked pie crust at 300F for an hour.

Cranberry Coulis

Dried cranberries, 1/3 cup
Apple cider, 3/4 cup
Icing sugar, 2 Tbsp

Simmer cranberries in cider for about ten minutes or until cranberries are very soft. Puree with an immersion blender and stir in sugar. Continue simmering until sauce is the consistency of ketchup or a squirtable fruit sauce.

Pumpkin Chantilly Cream

Pumpkin Syrup-
Drain pumpkin juices from roasting and draining of pumpkin flesh through a coffee filter to remove dirt and impurities. Reduce with brown sugar and a pinch or two of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Ratio of pumpkin to sugar should be about 15:1. Reduce until sticky enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Should not be too stiff when refrigerated.

For the cream, in a steel mixing bowl, whisk 1/2 c heavy cream until soft peaks form. Stir in 2 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin syrup and 1 Tbsp icing sugar. Whip just past soft peaks.

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3 thoughts on “Inspired by pumpkin – gnocchi, pesto & pie

  1. This all sounds so good ! I’ve gotten a few pumpkins lately from my CSA (Wysmykal Farms) and have made a few sweet (cheesecake) and savory (pumpkin caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza, pumpkin risotto, soup) dishes with them as well. I roasted another pumpkin yesterday to freeze can-sized quantities for future dishes. It’s amazing how much you can get out of one pumpkin !

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