A Gnocchi Treat with Pumpkin and Nuts

by meike peters

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Walnut Pesto

I love Hokkaido pumpkin, in fact I always buy too many of them. They look stunning, their curvy shape and bright orange colour – I can’t resist! Whenever I see a nice one I have to buy it and end up with far too many pumpkins in my kitchen. I have two on my kitchen table right now – perfect candidates to mix into tonight’s Gnocchi dough!

Usually, I make potato Gnocchi with blue cheese sauce or sage butter, but today it’s pumpkin Gnocchi with walnut pesto. They are absolutely delicious and easy to prepare. The most important trick is: never mix the flour with the warm pumpkin and potatoes! The mixture must be cold, that way the Gnocchi will keep their shape and have the right, firm texture.

This recipe has been featured on Food52 Halfway To Dinner!

Pumpkin Gnocchi


Pumpkin Gnocchi

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Walnut Pesto

There are two important rules for Gnocchi making:

1. First, you make the pre-dough with the pumpkin, potatoes, butter and egg yolks which has to cool completely before you mix in the flour, otherwise the Gnocchi will turn out too soft.

2. Mix more flour into your Gnocchi mixture if it’s too sticky. If the dough is too soft, the Gnocchi won’t stay in shape.


For 4 people you need

For the walnut pesto

walnuts 100g / 3.5 ounces plus more for the topping
parsley, chopped, 3 tablespoons
olive oil 110ml / 0.5 cub, plus more to taste (enough to give the pesto a smooth but thick texture)
salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a blender and season with salt and pepper to a taste. Add more olive oil if the mixture is too thick.


For the Gnocchi

pumpkin, seeds and fibres scooped out, cut into 2.5cm / 1″ cubes, 600g / 21 ounces
(I like to use Hokkaido pumpkin with skin, or peeled butternut or Musquée de Provence)
potatoes, peeled, cut into 2.5cm / 1″ cubes, 200g / 7 ounces
organic egg yolks 2
butter 2 tablespoons
plain flour 280g / 10 ounces
salt 3 teaspoons
nutmeg, grated

Cook the pumpkin and potatoes in lots of salted water until soft (for about 15 minutes). When they are done, take them out with a slotted ladle and drain them (gently push with a spoon and make sure that no more water comes out). Press the drained potatoes and pumpkin through a potato ricer, take any water out that might come out with pressing.

Mix the warm pumpkin/ potatoes with the butter and egg yolks and put in a cool place (or in the fridge) until the mixture is completely cool.

In a large pot, bring lots of salted water to the boil.

With a spoon, mix the cold potato/ pumpkin mixture with the flour, salt, nutmeg and pepper until combined. If the texture is too sticky and not firm, mix more flour in.

Dust your hands with flour and roll the dough into a sausage shape (about 1cm / 0.5″ thick) on a well floured working surface (in batches). Cut off Gnocchi of 2.5cm / 1″ length and put them on a well floured baking sheet.

Cook the Gnocchi in the water in batches on medium heat (simmering). When they start to come up and float on the surface take them out with a slotted ladle and drain them. Keep the Gnocchi in a covered ovenproof dish in the warm oven (100°C / 210°F) until the last batch is done.

Serve the Gnocchi sprinkled with the pesto and some crushed walnuts.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Walnut Pesto