I couldn’t resist the beautiful chunk of calabaza squash I saw at the Asian supermarket yesterday. It reminded me of the chunks of zucca I had seen in Italian markets, so I decided to try out a classic Italian dish: gnocchi di zucca — pumpkin gnocchi.
I found lots of variations in recipes online, so decided to do my own thing, with the tried and true guidance of Biba Caggiano, one of my favorite Italian cookbook authors. Here’s how it went down:
Gnocchi di zucca
About 2 pounds of cubed calabaza squash, roasted with shallots, sage and salt
1 1/2 cups of unbleached white flour
3/4 cup of shaved pecorino romano (not enough parmigiano on hand!)
I mashed the squash with a fork and stirred in the beaten egg, cheese and flour, which I added little by little so that I would avoid lumps. The dough wasn’t as firm as potato gnocchi, so I scooped out teaspoons and dropped them right into boiling salted water, cooking them until they floated to the surface (about 3-4 minutes). I removed them with a slotted spoon and tossed them into a pan where I had sauteed sliced shitake mushrooms in butter. I cooked them a bit more until they began to crisp, and called it a meal.
Overall, I give the dish a positive review, mostly for its fall flavors. Working with the wet dough brought none of the typical pasta-making pleasures, though. Biba suggests that you freeze the dough for up to an hour such that you can better shape it into small balls. I was a bit too hungry for that tonight, but might try the technique Wednesday with Blaine.