Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm Back Motha'F! Fake Fall Frenzy: Pumpkin Gnocchi

I know, I know. I left without saying goodbye. I simply fled town, without so much as a note.

All's well with the world now.  Take a deep breath. In and out, in and out...  

Because I'm back Mothafocka! (Cue the intro music. Be creative - "Final Countdown" is so cliché.)

With the Juanddy

Two months ago I took on two new jobs, and it seems like it was too much for mama bear, i.e. me. I've since dropped one, and I'm back on track to normalsville/my happy place. Last weekend the fiancé and I had a couple of friends over and we made the house cut out for fall. And by ready for fall, I really mean ready for Christmas. What up Navidad!

I know what you're thinking - those lights are staying up all year round!

I made Pumpkin Gnocchi with a Tomato Sage Sauce that literally melted in our mouths. I've been craving all things fall related lately. The four seasons are so distinct in North Carolina that without the marked temperature differences here in la tropics, it's hard for me to identify when time is passing. Be that as it may, in the past month, the weather has been cooler at night, the sun is starting to come up a bit later, and it's beginning to go to sleep a bit earlier. The relief from the insanely intense summer heat has been utterly delicious. 

Perfect Pairing:

A new element I'm adding to La Buena Fe is a wine pairing segment. I'm a beginner at wine pairing, but I'm hoping my research will lead me down the right path.  If not, I'm sure my friend Megan, my personal wine sommelier, and one of my oldest friends, will straighten me out. Hopefully I'll be able to start naming some specific bottles and not just the general types of wine.

This dish should be perfectly paired with a crisp white wine. Try a Sauvignon Blanc or late harvest Riesling, for something a bit sweeter.
Fun Fact: "Late Harvest" just means that the grapes have stayed on the vine longer than usually, allowing the sugar to become more concentrated.


1 1/2 pounds potatoes, about 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for topping
Pinch of allspice and nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground pepper
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour

First, boil the potatoes in salted water until very tender, which is about 25 minutes. While still hot, puree the potatoes and let them cool for a bit. You'll be mixing and kneading the dough with your hands, and you don't want them to burn!

Next, add the pumpkin puree, cheese, egg, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper. This next step is very important! Gradually add the flour to the mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, kneading it in as you go. You do not want to overwork the dough, or add too much flour. The dough will become heavy and taste like the flour, not like the pumpkin! 

Once the flour is mixed, cut the dough into 6 separate pieces. Roll out each piece so it is a long, thin rope, about 1/2 inch in diameter. The dough is pretty sticky, so you might need to add some flour - that's ok, but remember - not too much! Slice the rope into your pasta pieces, about 1/2 inch wide. For an extra flare that will really impress your friends, roll the tines of a fork against the dough so you have individual indentations on each piece.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and immediately add the gnocchi. Once they have risen to the top, cook each piece for 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set them aside while you make the sauce. You should have no more than 1/3 of the gnocchi boiling at a given time. Once they are sitting out, sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon and sugar on top to bring out the sweet pumpkin flavor.

Important note: Test a few pieces and see how turn out. If they seem overly soggy, pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees to crisp them up around the edges. 

Tomato Sage Sauce

2 lbs ripe tomatoes, about 2 large tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup butter (I used fat free heart healthy fake butter and it still tasted wonderful)
1 handful fresh sage leaves, chopped roughly
1 tablespoon brown sugar
salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden. Then add the tomatoes and salt. Turn the heat up to high and bring the tomatoes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover the mixture for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sage, sugar, and butter. Let the sauce's flavors blend for about another 5 minutes. Pour over your freshly made Pumpkin Gnocchi and enjoy. 

Serves 4-6!

a buen tiempo!