Fall! How can you not love it? Thick sweaters, changing leaves, warm apple cider, and pumpkin everything. In a nutshell, fall is the best.
We picked up some fresh pasta, among other things, on a trip to Russo’s. First was fresh linguine (check back for linguine alla carbonara), but we also bought gnocchi as well. Gnocchi are small, pillowy pasta dumplings made of flour, potato, and egg. They have been Diran’s favorite since long before we met. I had previously impulsively bought a can of pumpkin that was calling my name at Market Basket, so I figured I could marry these two foods. Crazier things have happened.
A few thoughts before you read on. I chose to leave the pumpkin “sauce” rather thick. Very thick, actually. This was a fortunate accident, not only giving more substance to the meal, but allowing us to actually eat more pumpkin and less pasta (healthy!). You, however, may thin out the sauce as much as you want to make it more sauce-like. If you already know that you’re going for a thinner sauce, you should use only half the can of pumpkin (or twice the amount of pasta) so you don’t end up with too much sauce. My next thought was that the salad dressing was very tart. I thought it tasted great, but you may not like such aggressive salad dressings. I would recommend adding more oil, if that’s your preference, to mellow it out.
Gnocchi in Pumpkin Sauce
Prep + Cook time: 20 mins, all active
No nutrition info for this. I don’t know what’s in the gnocchi, so it seems unfair to guess
1 large shallot, minced (set aside 1 teaspoon for the salad dressing, below)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 15 oz can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling. Plain old pumpkin)
2-3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is best, but you can use what you have)
1 tablespoon sour cream (you can use heavy cream instead, I just had sour cream)
1-2 cups reserved pasta cooking water
3/4 pound fresh gnocchi
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Start by bringing a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. When water boils, add pasta and cook until the gnocchi float to the top of the water (about 3 minutes. Watch carefully! This isn’t as easy as dried pasta. See picture below for cooked gnocchi).
While waiting for water to boil, add the olive oil to a large saucepan or skillet and place on medium heat. Add the shallot and rosemary, and cook for 3-5 minutes until the shallot starts to become translucent.
Next, add the pumpkin and stir. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and all of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and sour cream; stir. Add salt to taste. If you would like a sweeter sauce, add more brown sugar, one teaspoon at a time.
At this point, the gnocchi is likely to be done cooking. Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove gnocchi from water and place in the skillet, stirring gently into the sauce. Using half a cup at a time, add pasta water to the sauce and stir until you reach the desired consistency (I used 1 cup). Grate as much parmesan as you want over the top, and enjoy.
Pomegranate and Arugula Salad
Prep time: 5 minutes
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses (not necessary, see below)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 of the seeds from one pomegranate
2 cups of arugula
Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more oil if desired. Set aside.
In a salad bowl, place the pomegranate seeds and arugula. Dress with desired amount of dressing right before serving to avoid wilting the arugula.
Possible substitutions, omissions, and additions:
- use garlic or onion for shallot
- use more or less brown sugar
- use thyme or sage instead of rosemary
- use more or less cinnamon and nutmeg
- use heavy cream or butter instead of sour cream
- use another type of pasta: penne or another short pasta would work best
- use garlic or onion instead of shallot
- omit the pomegranate molasses (which, I realize, no one else has) and use balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar
- add more or less oil
What are your favorite pumpkin foods?