Pumpkin and Amaretti Gnocchi

Coming together for a holiday certainly revolves around the food we eat; especially in Italian families and for all those food lovers out there!  But there is also another important part that truly makes the holiday special.  And that is family; those that will be sharing this meal with me.  My daughter is coming home next week and I can’t even tell you how excited I am to see her!  She may be only an hour plus away and I may chat with her several times a day, but to have her back home with me makes me so very happy!

So while I’m planning ahead for Thanksgiving, I’ve also given some thought to preparing a few special meals for her and my son.  The night before Thanksgiving I really want something quick, easy and comforting.   Pasta is comfort food to me so I thought I’d prepare a batch of gnocchi to freeze ahead.  Of course, I can’t just make potato or ricotta gnocchi during pumpkin season!

Making gnocchi takes a bit of time and practice to get the texture of the dough just right but I always feel it’s worth the effort.  The roasted pumpkin puree should be drained well so that the dough will come together without adding in an excess of flour; a dryer puree makes for a lighter gnocchi.   The Amaretti cookie crumbs add a gentle sweet taste to the gnocchi and should be processed fine to not create a “crunchy” taste in the gnocchi.  I use a fork to roll my gnocchi but have heard of others using a box grater or a whisk to create the familiar grooves.

The pumpkin can be roasted a day ahead; normally when I’m roasting other things and will make the dough making day go a bit quicker!  It’s hard to be exact in the quantities of the ingredients as it truly depends on the moisture of the pumpkin whether to add more or less flour.  You will want the dough not sticky, but soft and light.  To create the light pillowy soft gnocchi make sure again that your dough is neither too wet nor too overworked. 

Just a small bowl of comfort, a mixed greens salad, a glass of wine and lots of laughter and love!! 

Pumpkin and Amaretti Gnocchi

For the gnocchi:

About 2 cups roasted pumpkin puree, squeezed/drained dry

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon Amaretti Liquor

1 ½ – 2 cups flour, I used white whole wheat flour

½ cup finely processed Amaretti cookie crumbs

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoons salt

For the sauce:

¼ cup organic unsalted butter

10-12 sage leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, mix the egg yolk and Amaretti liquor into the puree.  Combine the flour and Amaretti crumbs and add to the dough, mixing with a wooden spoon to combine.  Sprinkle a little flour on your board and knead the dough just until it’s smooth adding small amounts of flour as needed.   Do not overwork as the gnocchi can become tough.  Cut the dough into four sections and roll into long pencil shapes.  Cut every ½ – 1 inch and roll into small balls.  Mark the gnocchi by rolling it down the back of a fork or grater using your thumb to roll down then up forming the concave pillow shape.  Place the gnocchi on a large lightly floured baking sheet.  If freezing, place the baking sheet in the freezer and when frozen place in a freezer baggy for later use. 

When ready to cook, heat a large skillet and melt the butter.  Add the sage leaves and cook for several minutes.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi in batches if necessary for about 3-5 minutes or until gnocchi floats to the top.  Fresh gnocchi will obviously cook faster than frozen. Taste to check for doneness.  Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon to drain well and add to the large skillet.  Gently toss and to combine well with the sauce; sometimes I will lightly sauté the gnocchi for a touch of crispness.  Serve immediately in warmed bowls with Parmesan cheese and a few grinds of black pepper.  Makes about 8 small servings.

36 thoughts on “Pumpkin and Amaretti Gnocchi

  1. brilliant! I love gnocchi and it is not as hard as everyone thinks. The idea of using pumpkin with it can only be one of the most creative things ever. It looks delicious and perfect for thanksgiving or the day after

  2. Linda, you have read my mind! The other day I told Mike that I wanted him to make me pumpkin gnocchi. We’ve never made it before, but one of my favorite dishes is Mike’s potato gnocchi. You couldn’t have posted this recipe at a more perfect time! Thank you. 🙂 And I’m so happy that you get to see your daughter next week. 🙂

  3. I read this post and I swear I heard angels singing! What a great idea and wonderful way of saying, “Welcome home!” Your Son & Daughter are going to love it! I, too, am going to like it, once I make them. And I can’t wait to do so.

  4. I love gnocchi – so much! I’m picturing the pumpkin, but I’m unable to imagine what it would be like with amaretti in it! I love amaretti – It sure sounds like a fun combination though!

  5. I’ve always wanted to make homemade gnocchi, it’s on that never-ending “to cook” list. And yours does sound like the ultimate comfort food! I want a big bowl of gnocchi on this gray rainy day…

  6. Awww, I could just feel the love you have for your children! So sweet. My mom and dad always cook amazing meals, especially around the holidays. I joke with my parents telling them they go out of their way to make special meals so we can stay longer at there house before we leave to see the in-laws.

    I’ve always wanted to make pumpkin gnocci, I’ve made sweet potato gnocchi a few times with a butter sauce and love it but you version sounds amazing with Amaretti!

  7. Wow, this sounds so yummy! I haven’t tried making gnocchi yet but have read up on it quite a bit.

    I’m so glad your kids will be with you 🙂 Mine are going with their dad, but that’s okay I suppose, sincw I get them every other day. Have a great time 🙂

    1. My kids father lived out of state so I had them 24/7! But on Xmas I would fly up to Ohio and they would spend some time with him. It’s just a whole different way of raising kids in divorced situations!

  8. What a delicious sounding and looking recipe Linda! I wish I could come over to your house and you could show me how it’s done the RIGHT way. I went to a cooking class this weekend taught by Fabio from Top Chef. He was making butternut squash gnocchi. Not only did he leave out measurements almost all together but the gnocchi we got to taste was actually terrible. I was so sad because I really wanted to learn how to make it. Any tricks on shaping it?

    1. How disappointing to attend a cooking class and not have a great recipe! I thought I’d be asking you for tips! The best way to learn is being right there watching, but what I can tell you from making gnocchi for many years, is really not to overwork the dough by starting with dryer pumpkin (or ricotta or potato), take your time, which can be time consuming and when you roll the shape, use your predominant thumb to roll down and up to form the shape. I wish we lived closer, I’d have you over!

  9. What a great flavor combo. Amaretti and pumpkin sounds delightful and a nice twist on a classic! Gnocchi is such a pain in the a@! to make but soooo worth it!

  10. Oh Linda, I think this is my favourite one of your fall series 🙂 I’m positively swooning over the pumpkin pasta but it’s the Amaretti that gnocchid-it out of the park for me (!) add a little parm and fresh sage… I’m floating…

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