Gnocchi has been a passion of mine for all of my culinary carrier. I can recall learning to make gnocchi at Aqua in San Francisco. The sous chef at the time had a very strong Italian cooking background and a great passion for making gnocchi. That passion was passed down to me, to this day whenever I make gnocchi the memories of those days come flooding back.
I have always loved the combination of mixing Italian cooking techniques with Asian cooking techniques. The two pair so well together, that both work to develop huge umami flavors all balanced with different forms of acid.
Pumpkin gnocchi is a classic Italian dish, it is often made with sage and brown butter. I wanted to leave the pumpkin behind replacing it with Kabocha, firm and sweet. The sauce brings umami and acid along with a dash of spices that are warm and welcoming. A dash of curry powder and star anise bring brightness to the stewed yellow tomatoes. The yellow tomatoes bring umami and acid to the dish.
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WHAT YOU NEED...
Kabocha squash: firm and sweet once roasted, earthy notes with hints of chestnuts. The roasted color is bright and vibrant.
Yellow Cherry Tomatoes: stewed over low heat release umami, acid, and at the same time sweetness. The color plays off the warm earth tones of the gnocchi.
Star Anise: brings warm spice notes that have hints of licorice. There is an underlying sweetness to star anise, it adds a pop of surprise and complexity to the sauce.
S & B Curry Powder: just a dash will do. This curry powder with citrus notes and turmeric adding to the earthiness of the gnocchi. The curry powder is meant to be in the background, making you scan your memories of the different flavors you have eaten over the years until you finally put your finger on it.
Rice Paper sheets: makes for a fun take on shaved Parmesan that is often found in gnocchi recipes. Now is not a cheese substitute but is a fun take on flavors and visual experience. The seasoning of the mushroom powder paired with the nutritional yeast is a funky crisp umami bite.
How To Make Vegan Kabocha Gnocchi
Slice and remove the seeds from the kabocha squash.
Slice the kabocha squash and roast in the oven.
Once cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the rind. Hand chop or puree.
In this step the squash should be completely cool. Add the flour and spice. Combine and knead for 10 minutes. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes
Roll the dough and slice into pieces.
Press in the middle to make a bow tie shape.
How to Make Stewed Tomatoes
Gently cook the red onions for 10 minutes, then add the yellow tomatoes.
On low heat, add the curry powder, vinegar and star anise to the onion and tomatoes. Allow to cook for 30 minutes.
How to Make Rice Paper "Cheese"
Cut the rice paper into 1 inch then cook over medium heat. It's very fast only a few seconds.
Place on a paper towel to drain and season immediately.
In this recipe, we boil the gnocchi but another preparation that I love is sautéed pumpkin gnocchi. If i'm honest, this is my favorite method of cooking and eating gnocchi.
First, let's talk about how once you have formed the gnocchi and placed them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper place them in the freezer. Once frozen you can move ahead with cooking them or place in an air- tight container and keep them for a later time.
Cooking frozen gnocchi is easy, heat a sauté pan over medium heat, and add a generous amount of extra virgin olive to the pan. Place the gnocchi flat side down first, and sauté until golden brown, repeat on all sides until golden brown. The trick here is not to overload the pan, you have a lot to manage with flipping the gnocchi, it's better to start with a few, adding more to the pan as you find your rhythm and timing. Once cooked to a perfect amber brown you can serve immediately, or if you are cooking a large amount place them on a baking tray and then gently heat in the oven at 325 degrees until hot then serve.
Two sauce alternatives for pumpkin gnocchi, I have made two that are complete standouts. One sauce is a little more work, however, it makes for the most deliciously decadent dish ever. Here is what you have to do, go to the Pasta Carbonara recipe and make the tofu pancetta and the sauce. You are going to replace the pasta with the pumpkin gnocchi. This dish has all of the key ingredients in spades.
The second sauce is also a cream sauce but is very easy and fast, go to the Pasta Fettuccine sauce.
Vegan Kabocha Squash Gnocchi
Servings: 4 people
Pumpkin gnocchi is a classic Italian dish, it is often made with sage and brown butter. I wanted to leave the pumpkin behind replacing it with Kabocha squash (aka Asian Pumpkin), firm and sweet. The sauce brings umami and acid along with a dash of spices that are warm and welcoming. A dash of curry powder and star anise bring brightness to the stewed yellow tomatoes. The yellow tomatoes bring umami and acid to the dish.Print Recipe
Crispy Rice Paper "Cheese"
Star Anise and Curry Stewed Yellow Tomatoes
- Dandelion greens lightly dressed with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt.
How to make Pumpkin Gnocchi
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the kabocha into large pieces. Season with kosher salt.
- Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper, and cook the kabocha squash for 1 hour.
- I prefer to chop the cooked kabocha squash, it's fast and easy. Completely cool before moving to the next step.
- Place kabocha squash puree in a large bowl, and add 1cup of flour, and cayenne pepper. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the squash, and season with kosher salt.
- Start to fold the kabocha squash puree into the flour. Continue adding flour to the dough, until it starts to form a ball. Gently knead the mixture for around 10 minutes, adding a dusting of flour as needed. The dough should form a ball that is smooth and not sticking to the work surface. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Cut the dough into quarters. Lightly flour the work surface, and using both hands start to roll the dough into a log that is about as thick as your thumb.
- Cut pieces into half-inch long gnocchi pieces. Cut the whole log.
- You have two forming options, you can gently pinch the gnocchi in the middle creating a bow-tie shape, then place the gnocchi on a baking sheet lightly dusted with flour. The second method is rolling the gnocchi on a gnocchi board instead of pinching the gnocchi in the middle, this gives you the traditional ridges on the gnocchi.
- Place the formed gnocchi on a baking sheet dusted with flour, and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This allows the for to rest and the gnocchi to set up.
How to make Crispy rice paper Cheese
- Start by heating the coconut oil over medium heat.
- Cut the rice paper into 1inch thick strips the entire length of the rice paper.
- Place one strip of paper in the oil, the rice paper will puff up and become crisp in about 2 seconds.
- Place on a paper towel, and season immediately with the mushroom powder and nutritional yeast.
- If your mushroom powder does not have salt, sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.
How to make Star Anise and Curry Stewed Yellow Tomatoes.
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil over low heat. Add the sliced onions and season with kosher salt. The onions need to cook slowly for 10 minutes.
- Add the yellow tomatoes. Stir to combine
- Add the curry powder, red wine vinegar, and star anise. Stir to combine.
- Cook over low heat for 30 minutes. The tomatoes will release their natural juices as well as the onions. The sauce needs to reduce to a modest amount. Sauce making is a balancing act, too thick and it does not coat the food or the palate properly, too thin and it does not coat the food and has not developed enough flavor. The same should feel loose when spooning and stirring, but not so loose that it is watery.
- Make sure to remove the star anise before serving.
Cooking and Platting Pumpkin Gnocchi
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, and season with kosher salt. If you plan to cook all of the gnocchi at once make sure to have a big pot of water, the gnocchi needs enough room to float and move around.
- Place the gnocchi in the boiling water, and gently stir the water to ensure the gnocchi do not stick to the bottom of the pan. The gnocchi will float to the top, once the gnocchi are all floating, cook for 1 minute more.
- Using a spider strainer, gently remove the gnocchi, place them in a bowl, and season with salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Place the stewed tomato sauce on a plate, using a spoon spread the sauce to cover a 5-inch circle.
- Scatter the gnocchi over the sauce, garnish with the dandelion greens and the crispy cheese.
Nutritional values are an estiamte.
Calories: 541kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 512mg | Potassium: 510mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 845IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 5mg