Gnocchi di zucca con burro e salvia (Pumpkin gnocchi with sage and butter)
I love autumn – the leaves are changing colour, with beautiful yellows and reds and the mornings are crisp. It is a time to celebrate the delicious produce – apples, pumpkins, potatoes, chestnuts, pears and mushrooms. This is just what the farmers, viogners and producers in the Daylesford-Macedon area did last Sunday.
400g roasted pumpkin (seeds and skin discarded), mashed with a ricer or by hand and strained through a tea-towel to remove excess moisture
1/2 small egg, lightly beaten (discard the other half)
120g plain/all-purpose flour
80g parmesan cheese, finely grated
extra flour for dusting and rolling
pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper
100g unsalted butter
25 sage leaves (approx)
If there is excess water in the pumpkin puree, squeeze it through a clean tea towel until it is quite dry. Place the puree in a mixing bowl and fold through the half an egg with a spoon. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and then fold through the parmigiano cheese, and lastly the flour. Reserve a bit of flour to the side and only add it if the mixture is still sticking to the mixing spoon.
Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it, which should have formed a ball. Knead it lightly so that you get an even shape. If despite your best effort the gnocchi are too wet and the dough is sticking to your hands at this stage, have a little bit of potato mash on the side – made from roasted potatoes – and add a tablespoon to the dough and fold that through, and resist the urge of adding a lot more flour into the dough. Cut sections of your dough and roll them into thin logs, dusting the logs with extra flour if needed.
Cut sections at about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) and roll them on the curved inner side of a fork using your thumb to make a little concavity (which is to catch the sauce in). Repeat with the rest of the dough. Scatter some flour on the prepared gnocchi. If you are not making them immediately, cover them in a clean tea towel or freeze on a tray (and when frozen pop them in a zip lock bag for easier storage).
Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the gnocchi a couple at a time until half are in the water and cook a couple of minutes until they rise to the surface. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place on warmed plates. Melt the butter in a small fry pan, then add the sage leaves and cook until they start to become crisp and the butter starts turning brown. Drizzle the butter on the gnocchi. Scatter on lots of parmigiano cheese, some crispy sage leaves and serve.
Pair it with: light and fruity Falanghina
Falanghina is pronounced with a hard “g”, sounded out as “fah-lahn-geeh-nah.”
Two distinct Italian white wine grape varieties are commonly referred to as Falanghina (“fahlahng-gee-nah”), or Falanghina Greco—Falanghina Flegrea and Falanghina Beneventana. The two are often blended together, as well as with other indigenous Italian grape varieties, and the Italian vine census does not distinguish one sub-variety of Falanghina from the other. Both grapes are primarily cultivated in the Campania region of Southern Italy, though there is some production in neighboring regions such as Puglia and Abruzzo.
Falanghina Flegrea is the better-known sub-variety, and is a signature white grape of the Campania region. Its yellow-skinned, waxy berries thrive in this terroir, typified by a Mediterranean climate and volcanic soils. Falanghina Flegrea is grown in Campi Flegrei and is perhaps at its best in the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wines of Falerno del Massico and Falanghina del Sannio.
Wines made from Falanghina Flegrea are light, generally unoaked and highly fragrant. Many show a distinctively leafy note on the nose, along with citrus fruit aromas. On the palate, common descriptors include apple, pear and stony minerality