pan-fried gnocchi with pumpkin, goat’s cheese & candied walnuts

Pan-fried Gnocchi with Roast Pumpkin, Goat's Cheese & Candied Wa

The first time I made this dish, it was one of those classic epic cooking failures.

In an effort to make sure the gnocchi were light and fluffy, I was too restrained with the flour (the binding agent) and when all my little gnocchi pillows hit the pan, they fell apart into a clumpy, porridge-y mush.

Right before all the guests arrived.  Disaster.

Pan-fried Gnocchi with Roast Pumpkin, Goat's Cheese & Candied Wa

Thankfully, this time I was far more successful and ended up with a dish that was honest to god, to DIE for.

The recipe comes from Michael Forde, restaurateur and previously the chef of  Cantina 663 in Mt Lawley, and was featured among a collection of recipes from Perth’s rising stars of the restaurant scene years ago in the West Australian magazine.

With its distinctive composition of flavours, it’s a dish you’d expect to order straight off a fine dining menu.

A dish for special occasions but one that’s deceptively easy.

Pan-fried Gnocchi with Roast Pumpkin, Goat's Cheese & Candied Wa

pan-fried gnocchi with pumpkin, goat’s cheese & candied walnuts

recipe by michael forde, restaurateur and previously chef of cantina 663

½ butternut pumpkin, roasted in its skin

10 walnuts, shelled & lightly roasted with sugar until golden & candied
150g goat’s cheese
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
juice of ½ lemon

1.2kg royal blue potatoes
200g plain flour
1 egg
pinch of nutmeg
sea salt

Preheat your oven to 200°C.  Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and roast for 30 minutes or until tender.

Scoop out the flesh and put through a potato ricer or mouli, ensuring that the mixture is free from lumps.

Weigh out one kilo of the cooked potato, place on a floured surface and make a well in the centre.

Sift in the flour and add the egg, nutmeg and a pinch of salt.  Mix gently until combined and then cover with cling wrap, making sure the dough stays warm.

Divide the mix into four and roll each quarter into a long sausage.  I prefer to keep the gnocchi on the larger size because I find it works better for frying but it’s entirely personal preference.

Cut into 3cm pieces and place on a floured tray until ready to cook.

Handmade Gnocchi

Cook in boiling, salted water until the gnocchi rise to the top and then refresh in iced water.

Drain and place in the fridge for later.

Spoon the roasted pumpkin from its skin and break into pieces.  Heat olive oil in a large frypan, add the gnocchi and pan-fry on medium heat until golden brown.

Add the butter, sage, pumpkin pieces and half the walnuts, shaking gently to evenly distribute everything.  Continue to pan-fry until the mixture is hot and the butter is nut brown.

De-glaze the pan with lemon juice to cut the richness of the butter.

Spoon into serving bowls, dollop generously with the goat’s cheese and crumble the rest of the walnuts over the top.


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