Most people believe I’m Italian. Perhaps it’s the way I wave my hands around whenever I’m enthused (which is most of the time). Or could it be that I have dark hair and a definite Mediterranean look? And you would think that since my teaching specialty is Italian, I would have been born of the culture. But one way you’d know I have no Italian blood is if you ever watched me prepare gnocchi. I might as well be from any Main Street USA; my skills with this delicate pillow of potato are sad, just sad.
I’ve given it my best effort though. Through the years I was guided on the nuances of gnocchi only to seem to have sort of mental block. My results have varied from rock hard little balls of dough to ones completely falling apart. It also seems as if I have two left feet for fingers as I could never get the gnocchi all properly sized either.
So what’s a wanna be Italian to do? Find the best commercially prepared gnocchi you can and pair it with strong sauce making skills. Yes, when sauces were being taught, I excelled. So I was absolutely delighted to find a scrumptious frozen gnocchi from the Severino company that looks like and cooks up just like nonna would prepare. Their pumpkin gnocchi is perfect for these winter months and dressed with my walnut sage sauce, well I think the Italians just might make me an honorary member.
PUMPKIN GNOCCHI WITH WALNUT SAGE SAUCE
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, finely minced
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tsp fresh minced sage
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch crushed red pepper
1 (16 ounce) package Severino Pumpkin Gnocchi
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter on low heat just until butter melts. Add the garlic and simmer on low heat for about 4-5 minutes just until fragrant, but garlic is still white. Add the walnuts and raise the heat to medium low. Cook for 2 minutes until the walnuts are toasted.
2. Add the sage, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper and simmer for 1 minute.
3. Meanwhile, once the water has boiled, add the gnocchi and following package directions cook for about 1 minute until the gnocchi rise to the surface, drain.
4. Add the gnocchi to the walnut sauce and very gently toss just to coat the gnocchi with the sauce being careful not to break the gnocchi. Top with cheese.