By Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny
Suggested Pairing: 2011 Limited Edition Pinot Gris
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
When our esteemed Tower Club Manager Elizabeth Allcott presented me with this Limited Edition Pinot Gris we decided to collaborate on recipe ideas and we each took a bottle home for sampling. I chilled and sipped on my bottle while carving pumpkins on a sunny autumn afternoon. As I tasted the wine I decided to spice and roast some of my pumpkin for pairing. I was impressed so I knew the recipe would include pumpkin. A couple days later, Elizabeth noted the wine pairs nicely with gnocchi. A pairing was born.
From a chef’s perspective, this wine is cool. From the design of the bottle down to the last drops into the wine glass, this is a unique and fun wine to enjoy with food; and I really love its complexity. It has a perfect balance of honey and stone fruit, and finishes with this medium acidity that is exactly what you are looking for to pair with the unctuous texture of gnocchi and a rich pumpkin. The dark raisin rounds out that richness and is also a compliment to the acid on the wine. The spices on the pumpkin punctuates nicely against the entry of the wine on the palette.
Note that making a “from scratch” gnocchi is fun and a great technique to learn, but not necessary. There will be several good quality gnocchi dumplings for sale at your local gourmet grocer. That will cut back a lot of time with this recipe.
- 1 lb Yukon Potatoes
- 1 each Whole Egg, medium
- 1 Tb Olive Oil
- 2 tsp Salt
- 150 g Flour, sifted, plus extra for rolling the gnocchi
- 1 each Small Pumpkin, sugar baby preferred
- ½ tsp Cinnamon, ground
- 1 pinch Allspice, ground
- 1 pinch Nutmeg, ground
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 bunch Italian Kale, cleaned and julienned
- ¼ cup Dark Raisins
- ¾ cup Hot Water
- 1 each Shallot, julienned
- 2 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ cup White Wine, Pinot Gris preferred
- ½ tsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
- ½ tsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
- 1 tsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 2 Tb Butter
- ¼ cup Hazelnuts, roasted
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- Put the potatoes, skin on, into a pot of cold salted water. Bring to a slow boil and reduce the heat. When the potatoes are knife tender remove them from the water. “Knife tender” means a paring knife can be inserted and removed without resistance.
- Remove the skin from the potatoes with a towel so you don’t burn yourself. Put the potatoes through a ricer into a mixing bowl. If a ricer is not available you can use a slotted spoon or a large fork to press the potatoes into a mash.
- Add the olive oil and egg to the potatoes and fold the mixture together. Add the sifted flour and salt.
- Use a rubber spatula to begin the mixing, but move to using your hands once the ingredients are incorporated. As you mix, the gnocchi should form pliable dough. The dough should still be warm at this point.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Also make yourself an ice bath to cool down the gnocchi once they are cooked.
- As the water is coming to a boil begin to make the gnocchi. Take pieces of the dough and roll into long worms on a surface lightly dusted with flour. Cut this in into ¾ inch pieces.
- In small batches place the gnocchi into the slow boiling water. When the gnocchi floats, count to 20 and then remove from the water and place into the ice bath.
- When all the gnocchi is done, strain from the ice bath and lay out on a sheet pan to dry. At this point you may oil the gnocchi and store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
- To reheat the gnocchi put in a sauté pan with a little bit of butter or oil and just a touch of water.
Pumpkin and Raisins:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Cut off the stem and cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and pith
- Season the inside of the pumpkin with the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then coat lightly with olive oil.
- Turn the pumpkins skin side out in a roasting dish or a sheet pan with a liner or non-stick spray. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin becomes knife tender.
- Pull and let cool enough to remove the skin. Let cool some more and cut into a large dice.
- Bring ¾ cup of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the raisins. Cover and allow to steep and re-hydrate for 15 minutes or more. Remove the raisins and keep the juice.
Preparing the Dish:
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot add the shallots with a tablespoon of olive oil. Allow the shallots to cook and slightly caramelize.
- Add the raisins, but not the juice yet. Cook for about a minute to incorporate flavor and deglaze any shallot stuck to the pan.
- Add the julienned kale and increase the heat to medium-high. Allow the kale to cook down until tender.
- Add the gnocchi and the spiced pumpkin. Allow these ingredients to get hot for a couple minutes
- Add the white wine and raisin juice. Simmer for about 2 minutes
- Add the fresh herbs, hazelnuts, and the butter. Allow the butter to melt and coat the gnocchi with the herbs.
- Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
- Arrange on a plate and top with the Parmesan. Enjoy!