Gnocchi all’ Ossolana / Pumpkin, Chestnut and Potato Gnocchi

December 2, 2021

This is a typical autumnal dish from Piedmont involving its seasonal produce: pumpkin, chestnuts (or chestnut flour) and potatoes. On most occasions the gnocchi will be served with a mushroom or melted Toma cheese sauce. I also very often dress them just with a buttery sage and walnut (or hazelnut) sauce.

The quantities of pumpkin and potatoes tend to be more or less of an equal amount with a smaller proportion of chestnuts. But of course, they can be personalised to your liking. 

Serves 4 :

  • about 400 g of floury potatoes (leave the skin on)
  • about 400 g of pumpkin flesh, cut into chunks of similar size
  • 100-120 g of sifted chestnut flour (or cooked or baked chestnuts)
  • 1 egg, separated
  • grated nutmeg
  • salt
  • olive oil for drizzling

For the sauce:

  • 80g of butter
  • 10-15 sage leaves
  • a handful of coarsely chopped walnuts

Drizzle the chopped pumpkin with olive oil and toss. Bake in a preheated oven to 170-180 C for about 30 minutes until soft and tender. The browned edges are welcomed adding an extra depth of flour to the gnocchi and darker colour.

Place the potatoes in a pot, cover with cold salted water and boil in their skins until soft (when inserting a small sharp knife in the middle). Drain and leave to cool for a while until you can manage to peel them.

Press the pumpkin along with the peeled potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer. Add the chestnut flour (or pressed cooked chestnuts), a generous pinch of salt, some nutmeg and the egg yolk.

Work the ingredients in your hands into a smooth dough. Add some of the egg white for binding if needed. Adding the whole egg immediately may result in a very soft dough, which will require more flour in order to reach the right consistency.

Cut the dough into four pieces and roll each one of them on a clean surface covered with some plain flour, forming the gnocchi to your preferred size (not bigger than the size of a walnut) and shape.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the gnocchi until they come up to the surface.

In the meantime prepare the sauce:

Melt the butter on a medium heat in a pan along with the sage leaves. When the butter starts to foam and turns golden add the walnuts. Give it a stir and and keep on the heat for another minute or so.

Once the gnocchi are cooked, take them out of the water using a large slotted spoon and place in a large serving plate.  Immediately pour over the warm buttery sauce, toss gently and serve.