Monday, November 5, 2007

Have you?

Has a hard-skinned, seed-filled pumpkin seduced you yet yet? Or, are you still fighting the terrors of a ghoulishly carved Halloween prop? The market is abundant with possibilities and you should take the plunge. It does not have to say, Libby’s, Libby’s, Libby’s on the label for you to decide to work with pumpkin meat. Yes, I will agree that there is a tad more work involved with getting a fresh, whole specimen that needs to be peeled and further dealt with. Though the flavor rewards leaves commercially dealt products in the dust. You will most likely get more from one tough-skin then you will probably use in that recipe – don’t fret it. Freeze the remaining. I like to freeze the pumpkin meat pureed so it can be easily applied to soups, stews, or baked goods lately on.

Just make sure when you buy the pumpkin it is heavy for its size, and use a chef’s knife when cutting it open. I always wash the seeds free of any fibrous material and pat them dry, and then, I must confess, fry them in olive oil until golden brown. A little sprinkle of salt, and I have a snack or garnish for the finished dish.

Take home a Hubbard Blue, Banana or Kuri – everyone needs a good home.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce- serves 8 to 10
3 cups cooked Pumpkin meat (approx. 3 pound pumpkin or canned)
2 - 3 cups all purpose Flour
3 large Eggs
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 Tablespoons Salt

If you are using a fresh pumpkin, slice the top off and remove the seeds. Bake the pumpkin in a 350 oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Scoop out the pumpkin meat and mashed to a smooth mixture. Lay it out on a baking tray and return in to the oven for 15 minutes to evaporate any excessive moisture. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly.

Place the pumpkin meat on a clean work surface and make a large well in the middle. Sprinkle about 1 and 1/4 cups of the flour over the pumpkin. In the well add the eggs, oil, nutmeg and salt and gently beat it to combine. Start mixing in the pumpkin/flour into the egg mixture and working to combine it all together. If the gnocchi mixture feels wet and tacky continue to work in additional flour until the dough mass is not tacky to the touch.

Divide the pumpkin dough mass into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a log approximately 1 inch round. Cut the log into 1/2-inch pieces. You can either lightly pinch the gnocchi or you may lightly roll the piece up the back of a fork to create some ridges. Hold the
gnocchi on a clean, well floured kitchen towel as you make them so they don’t end up sticking your work surface. Freeze, or cook the gnocchi in a large quantity of boiling water until it floats to the surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce- yields 2 cups

3 cups Cream
1/8 cup Brandy
1 Tblsp Thyme Leaves - roughly chopped
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/8 pound Gorgonzola Cheese - crumbled
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

In a sauce pan bring the cream, brandy, thyme and mustard to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced by half in volume. Whisk in the gorgonzola and add the salt and pepper. Spoon over the gnocchi as soon as it comes out the water and serve.

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