I've tried making gnocchi in the past, but the whole thing dissolved while boiling, so it was a complete failure. Since then, I haven't even thought about making it again.
A few weeks ago, I pondered what I would make for a small gathering. I really wanted to eat beef stroganoff. I looked around for some starch ideas to accompany the beef, and came upon pumpkin gnocchi. With a bit of skepticism (and a back-up of regular pasta, just in case it failed), I decided to tackle gnocchi once again.
2 cups pureed kabocha pumpkin
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 - 2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
Original recipe said to us canned pumpkin, but I bought a huge kabocha, and decided to use it instead.
When cutting kabocha, or other winter squashes, be very careful, since the skin is quite tough. Cut it into thin-ish slices, and either steam them or nuke them, as I always do. Incorporating the microwave into cooking is something I've started to do. In Japan, busy moms use the microwave in such creative ways, I was very amazed. You can buy a silicon microwave cooking container, in which you can make pilaf, curry, and even al dente pasta. It's pretty amazing.
When microwaving, be sure you tightly seal the container with saran wrap. Japanese saran wraps come very handy here since they seal so well. I nuked the kabocha for about eight minutes. It will become very hot, so be careful when handling it.
Mash up the kabocha.
YAMAHOMO TIP: Kabocha skin is totally edible and has a lot of nutrition in it, so try to incorporate it into your recipe whenever you can.
Mix the kabocha with flour, egg yolk, salt, and knead it until it's manageable. The dough will be very sticky in the beginning, so keep adding flour to the mixture until you can knead it without the dough sticking to your fingers.
Once you can form a ball, cut it into fourths, and roll it out into a thin strip.
Cut these into little bite-size pieces, and press fork to add the gnocchi shape. Or if you have a gnocchi board (a wooden tool to make gnocchi indentations), use it to make more professional-looking markings.
Boil gnocchi pieces for about three minutes or until it floats.
I thought gnocchi-making would be a lot more complicated, but this was so easy and worked out super great. It was a nice color, and tasted like kabocha. The beef stroganoff was made with fat-free sour cream, but it tasted just fine.
For dessert, I served my signature black sesame macarons.