Today’s inspiration was a small pumpkin from the garden but at the beginning I planned to prepare simply some spätzle as they are quick to be prepared.
To go with this I was not sure if I wanted to prepare my walnut sauce or a mushrooms sauce. At once I remembered I had some porcini mushrooms in the freezer and with an Italian sauce I found that Italian gnocchi would be better. Perhaps too much work for a weekday dinner, but I could already imagine how good it would be and went in the kitchen.
All together I had about 2 hours, as the boiling/baking time for the potatoes/pumpkin and then the cooling time took a lot of time. The final cooking for the gnocchi and the sauce was quick and the smell coming out of the oven was divine.
Some people may like little cheese as topping; in our case the sauce was so tasty that we really did not need this.
Note: for the sauce I opted for the baking method as frozen mushrooms could turn mush, which is not really attractive. If you have fresh ones (any kind!) you may prepare the sauce in the skillet.
For the best results I really suggest to use porcini mushrooms; I can remember that my grandmother fried dried porcini after soaking them in water, this is another option.
I friend of mine said that eggplants are similar to mushrooms, this would be a method to stretch porcini if you don’t have a lot of them (if you try this, please let me know!).
Gnocchi di Zucca
For the pumpkin gnocchi you need:
- 400 g pumpkin pulp, peeled, seed removed and sliced
- 400 g potatoes, washed
- 150 g flour, more if necessary
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 dash nutmeg
- Four to dust
- Salt for boiling water
- 2-4 tablespoons vegetal oil for boiling water
- Place pumpkin on a baking tray. Bake at 200°C/400°F for about 30 minutes until soft and lightly roasted
- In the meantime boil the potatoes until soft. Time depends form the size
- When pumpkin is ready remove from the oven, place in a bowl and mush with the form, do the same with potatoes after peeling them.
- Flatten potatoes and pumpkin and let cool down until lukewarm.
- Add flour, salt and nutmeg, work with the fork in a big bowl until combined, if it is too wet add some more flour, the should be not to sticky and but still soft!
- Slice some of the dough, dust with flour (abundant) and roll it out, cut into 1.5 cm (1/2”) pieces and place on a floured baking tray with parchment paper.
- Bing a big pot with water to boil (about 3-4 liters), add salt and water.
- Transfer the gnocchi using the parchment paper to the boiling water.
- After about 5 minutes the gnocchi should rise, they are now ready.
- Use a colander and transfer them into a greased baking mold. Place into warm oven (about 150-180°C) until serving or keep warm if the sauce is not ready
Salsa ai Porcini
For the porcini sauce you need:
- 300 g porcini mushrooms, frozen and diced
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, finely diced (or one shallot)
- 2/3 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon broth granulate (beef, chicken or vegetables broth granulate)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Pepper to taste
- Salt or broth granulate to adjust
- Parsley to sprinkle
- Preheat the oven to 220°C /450°F.
- Pour frozen mushrooms on a greased baking mold (mine was about 25 cm / 10 inch wide) and bake for about 5 minutes.
- Add onion and bake until the borders of the mushrooms begins to brown.
- Dissolve four in wine and water and add granulate.
- Pour this mixture over the mushrooms. Stir only once, gently.
- When sauce begins to thicken (after about 5 minutes) add heavy cream and pepper. Stir once gently.
- Adjust salt if necessary and bake for other 3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parsley and serve with the gnocchi or pasta.