Today marks the first post in my Meatless Mondays series - vegetarian meals that you can prepare on a weeknight. Gnocchi probably aren't the first thing that come to mind when you think of simple, weeknight meals - more likely, they conjure images of an Italian grandmother slaving all day in the kitchen. But really, they can be quite simple to make, especially if you think a bit outside the traditional.
These gnocchi are made with canned pumpkin, so there is no cooking, mashing, or cooling prior to starting to make the dough. You could make them with basically any mashed root vegetable or squash, as long as you let the mashed veggie cool before you start the dough (otherwise, it will cook the egg). I'd like to try a sweet potato and parsnip version sometime soon.
Once you have the gnocchi made, you can serve them several ways. Pictured is how we ate them, with a sage cream sauce (recipe below). You could also just toss them with a bit of melted butter and parmesan. Or brown them in a pan with a bit of olive oil.
You can always only make a half batch of gnocchi, if you only need to serve 2 and don't want leftovers. I plan to brown the leftovers with some kale for lunch. But this recipe makes 4 servings, because that uses up the whole can of pumpkin, which I find convenient.
For a more traditional shape, you can roll each gnocchi over the tines of a fork before boiling if you like.
Yield: 4 servings
1 14.5 oz can pumpkin puree
1 tsp salt
2-2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1. Set a large pot of water on to boil. Salt the water.
2. Combine pumpkin, egg, and 1 cup of flour in a bowl. Stir until combined. Stir in the second cup of flour. Add the last 1/2 cup of flour if needed. The dough should be soft, but not overly tacky.
3. Working with 1/4 of the dough at a time, flour a work surface, and roll the dough out into a snake shape. You can decide how thick or what size you would like the gnocchi to be. Using a sharp knife, cut the gnocchi to your desired size. (I rolled out the dough to about 1 inch diameter, then cut every 1/2 inch or so. I didn't roll them over a fork, like I mention above, because that is time consuming.)
4. Place the cut gnocchi into the boiling water using a slotted spoon, and cook until they float, about 2-3 minutes. While you boil the first 1/4, roll and cut the next portion. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon.
To brown the gnocchi, heat some oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat, and transfer the cooked gnocchi directly to the skillet. Or remove them to the sauce below.
Sage Cream Sauce
Made without any actual cream, this sauce works beautifully on pumpkin gnocchi.
Yield: 2 servings
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp dried rubbed sage
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup white wine (or vegetable broth)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any milk except skim)
1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add sage and shallot, and cook about 30 seconds. Stir in wine or broth and milk, and bring to a boil.
2. Add cooked gnocchi to the sauce, and cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve, sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
We ate this over crispy kale. To make crispy kale, combine 2-3 cup chopped or torn kale leaves in a skillet with about 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Cook about 5 minutes, until crispy. (Source)
This meal should come together in around 30 minutes - not bad at all for a weeknight!
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