But first, as a way of saying "thank you" to everyone who has been so supportive and kind and thoughtful and genuinely wonderful as Poppa Trix and I have gone through this difficult period after losing our dog Pete, I want to give you something. Yes - me, doing a giveaway! There's a first time for everything, right?
In keeping with the pumpkin theme, I'm giving away a bottle of this gourmet Austrian pumpkin seed oil:
beans with pumpkin seed cream, and other things I'm sure I haven't thought of yet - but I am only one woman. So lucky you!
Okay, the rules:
1. Leave a comment for a chance to win. Here's the catch: If you leave a comment that shows you actually read the post - not just the giveaway part, but the actual recipe/food part - then you get an extra chance!
2. You don't have to follow the blog, but if you do, you'll get an extra chance. (If you already follow me, just remind me in the comments and you'll get an extra chance, same as new followers.)
3. If you tweet the giveaway, you get an extra chance. Just let me know in the comment.
That's it - pretty simple, eh? Four chances to win, and it's open to anyone no matter where you live (I'm awesome like that). The deadline is 6 pm EST December 26th. I'll use Random.org, and I'll announce the winner on December 27th. That way, even if you don't like any of your holiday presents, you know at least you'll have one thing coming that you really want.
On to the recipe. I had to reconstruct it from Chef Mike's cryptic writing, but I'm confident that I did an accurate job, as the flavor took me straight back to that wine-soaked and food-filled evening at Weinhof Wieninger. Now, Chef Mike says that these gnocchi are done "in the Italian style," and that may be true, but the result is 100% Austrian.
His secret? While most recipes call for the potatoes to be baked, here they're boiled, put through a ricer or fine mesh seive, and left overnight, uncovered, in the refrigerator in order to dry out. This, he says, is what makes them so fluffy. Indeed, these gnocchi are airy and light, yet simultaneously just on the correct side of chewy, and they retain a very strong potato-y flavor. I think the high number of egg yolks - 5 for 500 grams of potato - has something to do with this as well, though I haven't figured out the technicalities. I also used "griffig" flour from Austria, which is a bit more coarse than American AP flour, but I'm sure you'd be okay with that. I've left the measurements in grams for accuracy.
Chef Mike's Viennese Gnocchi Baked in Pumpkin Cream
For the gnocchi:
500 g Russet potatoes, peeled, boiled, and put through a ricer or fine mesh seive
5 small egg yolks (note: I was lucky enough to have small eggs from a family farm; if all you can find are large eggs, you may want to start with 4. But don't buy jumbo eggs - it's painful for the chicken to lay them.)
25-plus grams griffig or other coarse flour
1 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
Bread flour for dusting
For the pumpkin cream:
1 small baking pumpkin, about 4 pounds, enough so that you end up with about 500 grams of roasted pumpkin:
|It was too cute to resist|
25 grams butter
250 ml heavy cream
50 grams creme fraiche
2 grams fresh dill, chopped
salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, and cayenne to taste
Sharp grated provolone, for topping
The day before you plan to make the dish, peel and boil the Russet potatoes until tender. When cool, run them through a ricer or seive and store, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. You'll want to end up with 500 g, so make more than you think you should.
Make the sauce before you make the gnocchi. Cut the pumpkin in half, removing the seeds and pulp. Lay the halves face down in a baking dish along with about 1/4-1/2 inch of water and roast at 425 degrees F until the pumpkin is tender, 60 -90 minutes. When cool, scrape out the pumpkin meat:
Puree this with the cream and creme fresh - I used an immersion blender. You don't want it to be too watery. Stir in the fresh dill and season to taste. I added just enough cayenne - about 1/4 tsp - to lend a very subtle heat to the dish.
For the gnocchi, combine the potatoes, salt, nutmeg, and 25 grams of the flour. Make a well in the middle and incorporate the egg yolks, one at a time. Once combined, if the dough isn't holding together add more griffig flour a bit at a time. Gently knead the dough until smooth on a lightly floured surface. Divide into four sections and roll each out into a long tube, about 3/4 inch diameter. Cut the gnocchi into pieces with a dough cutter. I made mine a bit larger and more rustic than I normally would, as that's how I remember the dish:
Working in batches of about 12-14 gnocchi, plop into vigorously boiling salted water. Once they float, give them 90 seconds before removing with a slotted spoon to drain.
When you've worked through all the gnocchi, in a bowl gently begin folding in the pumpkin cream until the gnocchi are well coated and surrounded, but not swimming in sauce. Transfer this to a casserole and top with the grated provolone. Bake at 350 degrees until brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into it, and top with a chopped parsley and dill mix for color. The dish goes from looking rather wan before cooking to utterly scrumptious after:
Naturally, you should enjoy this with a nice Grüner Veltliner or Zweigelt. I had the dish on two successive evenings (the leftovers were fabulous!) with these very different wines, and somehow they both worked. But then, I am no sommelier.
You can get all fancy and serve it like this:
... or, more to my liking, you can serve it in a giant pile. This dish is a bit of work, but it's so worth it. Though I suggest you try and make it before your New Year's resolutions go into effect.
And don't forget to enter the pumpkin seed oil giveaway:
Good luck and happy holidays!