The first time I made fresh Gnocchi I was with two of my girls, Julia and Natalie, in Wellington, New Zealand. We were all flatting in various places and studying at the time but we would get together as much as possible to cook fresh*, ‘never cooked before’* meals*, all whilst sipping back a couple of bottles of wine and catching up on each others latest work, play and love stories.
*(‘fresh‘ meaning we would each bring separate ingredients needed for our meal)
*(‘meals‘ meaning not just heating up soup from a can)
*(‘never cooked before‘ meaning Julia had made them but Natalie and I had not) – Think this is where I got my sous chef role in the kitchen down so good. Actually, Julia taught me how to cook many of the meals I still cook today!
I found this beautiful site today, Island Menu, which not only shares the process of cooking such beautiful foods, it also documents where, how and with whom the food was caught, grown and supplied. It’s a meal for your eyes and I promise you’ll be inspired.
So here is Island Menu’s Pumpkin Gnocchi with Rocket Pesto, Pancetta and Goats Cheese.
600 grams of pumpkin tossed in olive oil with a pinch or two of sea salt and some fresh thyme baked in the oven at 180 celcius for approximately 35 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft when pricked with a skewer. Allow to cool.
Press the roasted pumpkin through a ricer or metal strainer, add one egg, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ a cup of finely grated parmesan cheesee, 1 ¼ cups of plain flour. Mix to combine, if the mixture appears a little too wet add some more flour, the mixture should be a sticky dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Divide the dough into manageable portions and on a lightly floured surface roll into lengths approximately 2 cm thick and cut into 2cm sections with a knife. Place the gnocchi on a tray lined with baking paper and a light dusting of flour. Repeat this process with the remaining dough.
To cook the gnocchi bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and place in batches, the gnocchi is cooked when it floats to the surface.
Place two handfuls of rocket in a pestle and mortar along with one clove of garlic and a pinch of sea salt, pound until softened and add a handful of toasted pine nuts and continue to pound. Once done put the rocket mix in a bowl with a handful or grated parmesan cheese and stir in some olive oil to bring the mixture together just enough to make it a nice consistency.
To serve with the gnocchi and rocket pesto pan fry a few strips of pancetta until crisp, remove from pan and chop, roughly crumble with goats cheese on the top.