It’s officially pumpkin season, and I don’t know about you, but I am always on the search for fall-inspired recipes that exude the flavors of the season. My friend Ragan served this Pumpkin Gnocchi with Crispy Sage and Toasted-Walnut-Infused Crème Fraiche as the main course for our Lovely Dinner last fall and it got rave reviews. It sounds complicated, but you can simplify it by using pre-cut butternut squash, and don’t worry, we’re not asking you to make your own fresh gnocchi! Add this to your collection of easy dinner party recipes, or go crazy and make it for your family tonight for dinner. I’ll stand by and wait for my invitation!
1 container crème frîache
2 Tbsp olive oil plus one ½ cup
½ stick butter
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 cups of walnuts, toasted & ground
1 head of radicchio, finely sliced
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
2 packages fresh gnocchi
zest of one lemon
pinch red chili flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Peel and cube squash, coat with 2 Tbsp olive oil, a few cracks of black pepper and a pinch of red chili flakes. Roast for about 45 minutes to one hour, until nicely browned and caramelized. Remove to cool.
In a saucepan, heat ½ cup of olive oil over high heat. Pull the sage leaves off the steams and place in the hot oil. Using tongs, turn once until they go bright green. Remove before they turn brown, about 20 seconds per side. Place on paper towels to soak up oil. Set the leaves aside. Using the same oil, place the sliced radicchio and sauté until wilted. Remove from pan and set aside.
Toast walnuts and grind in a food processor. Reserve about a ¼ cup for garnish.
In a saucepan, heat the crème fraîche, add the ground walnuts and infuse over low heat for about 30 minutes. Strain the crème fraîche of the walnut pieces and return to saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Next to it, place a saucepan and melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once the water rapidly boiling, pour in the gnocchi. It will sink to the bottom. When it floats, remove from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer directly into saucepan with melted butter. Brown the gnocchi on both sides.
Remove squash from oven.
Now, all of your elements are ready to plate. Begin by spooning a generous portion of the warm walnut sauce onto the plate. Place a spoonful of the radicchio on top followed by few chunks of squash. Carefully place several crispy sage leaves around sporadically and finish by dusting the reserved ground walnuts over the top and about the plate and sprinkling the lemon zest around to add a hint of freshness.
You are now ready to impress your guests with a fall-inspired Lovely Dinner!
Recipe by Ragan Wallake of Beauty in the Bite