Whenever I ask My Love what he wants for dinner he shouts “GNOCCHI” accompanied by a fist pump.
This happens most days.
Unfortunately until he can keep me in the manor to which I would like to become accustomed (house in Carlton, faffing about teaching people about wine and regular brunching) I don’t have the time to hand roll gnocchi that often.
But when I do, it’s marvelous.
I make gnocchi using ricotta, a slightly less carby way of serving pillowy little parcels of yum. Plus cheese. Extra cheese cannot be sniffed at.
I use a recipe from one of Donna Hay’s very early magazines and mix it up with different toppings. Today I am sharing one of my all-time favourites.
Spelt ricotta gnocchi with roast pumpkin, brown butter and crispy rosemary
Light cheesy pillows of gnocchi, topped with caramelised roast pumpkin and rosemary that has been crisped in brown butter.
How good is brown butter!
I have started playing about with alternatives to wheat. Spelt is lower in gluten (though not gluten-free), and higher in protein, vitamins and minerals. I am not gluten-intolerant but have the sort of medical history that means I am slightly more likely to develop Coeliac disease than the average bear. For this reason, I try to save my wheat consumption for cake and pizza. Spelt can easily be substituted for plain flour if you prefer wheat.
The secret to making gnocchi with spelt is to make sure you give it time to set. The lower levels of gluten mean the dough is not as elastic, so a little time spent in the fridge allows the flour to absorb moisture and plump up so that your gnocchi doesn’t fall apart during boiling. The result is a gorgeous, slightly nutty flavour in your cheesy gnocchi.
When you have the time to make a batch of gnocchi it feels gloriously traditional; mixing the dough by hand, cutting it into pieces and a gentle roll along the back of a fork to give you ridges. This is wholefood at its best.
A lightly-oaked Chardonnay is a beautiful match with the nutty brown butter and cheesy gnocchi. Try to get something from a cool climate so that there is some crisp acidity to wash away the richness of the butter dressing – in Australia think Tasmania or Yarra Valley, in America think Oregon, in France think white Burgundy.
What do you love to make from scratch when you have the time?
- 500g fresh ricotta (preferably from the deli section rather than the wetter stuff in tubs)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup spelt flour plus extra for dusting your board
- 400g pumpkin
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 50g butter
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- Sprinkle of parmesan
- Lightly beat eggs
- Place ricotta, eggs, and parmesan in a bowl and mix until well combined
- Add a sprinkle of salt and a little cracked pepper (optional)
- Add spelt flour and mix or knead until combined
- Roll handfuls of mixture into long sausage shapes about an inch in diameter on a floured board
- Cut gnocchi into pieces
- Roll each gnocchi along the back prongs of a fork (optional)
- Place gnocchi on lined baking trays and rest in the fridge for at least one hour.
- When ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large deep saucepan of water to the boil.
- Place about half the gnocchi in the saucepan; dropping one piece in at a time to ensure they form a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Usually the temperature drops so put a saucepan lid on top and return to the boil.
- Gnocchi are ready when they rise to the top of the pan, remove with a slotted spoon as they rise and keep warm.
- Repeat for the second half of the gnocchi.
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Peel pumpkin and cut into large, slender wedge shapes
- Toss through olive oil and bake for 40 minutes or until caramelised and tender
- Just before cooking the gnocchi, place butter in a small saucepan and melt over a low to medium heat.
- Allow butter to boil, stirring occasionally to keep colour even. Continue cooking until butter smells nutty and is just browned (it will continue to cook).
- Remove from heat and add rosemary leaves, they will fry and crisp up.
- Set aside until gnocchi is ready.
- Spoon gnocchi into bowls, place pumpkin on top, drizzle over browned rosemary butter and sprinkle with parmesan.
- It takes about 15 minutes to cook both batches of gnocchi, so have the pumpkin roasted and the butter browned ready to go.
- After removing the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon I place it in a colander (over a tray) with a saucepan lid on top to allow excess water to drain and to keep it warm.