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Winter warming gnocchi

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How about this for a fantastic Halloween recipe? A big thank you to Giuliana who runs the brilliant Cici Coco Italian cookery courses for providing the know-how.

Giuliana’s running a An Italian Celebration of English Pork class on 14 Nov (1oam-2pm) in Cuddington (near Thame) making Italian sausage meat, pork escallops, pasta sauces, meatballs etc if you’re interested. I can defo recommend her, she’s brilliant at what she does.

But for now, back to Halloween. Waaa-haa-haaa!

Pumpkin gnocchi with smoked bacon and sage sauce and goat cheese

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‘CiCi CoCo’ translated from Italian into English means ‘things that go together’. This traditional Italian recipe is made with the best English pumpkins (good varieties for this recipe include Crown Prince or Marina di Chioggia).  You can serve these gnocchi with your favourite sauce: tomato and basil, meat sauce or just a simple butter and sage. Enjoy!

Ingredients – Serves 6

1kg of pumpkin, skin on, seeds removed
2 medium eggs
200g plain flour
Zest of 1 lemon finely grated
100g freshly grated parmesan cheese
50g unsalted butter
A few sage leaves
4 slices of pancetta or really thin streaky bacon, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
Hard goat cheese or smoked cheese to serve

Preparation method

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Preheat the oven at 200°C. Roast the pumpkin on a baking tray with some seasoning and covered with some foil for about 30 minutes until really soft. Let it cool a bit, remove the skin and squash with a fork until is reduced in a puree. In a bowl mix the pumpkin, the eggs, the lemon zest, the Parmesan cheese and half of the flour. It should have a creamy consistency. If too watery add some more flour. Let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 day.

Put a large pot of salted water to boil.  In the meantime, make the sauce by frying the pancetta in butter with the sage leaves until the butter is a nutty colour and the pancetta is nice and crispy.

With the help of 2 teaspoons collect an amount of pumpkin mixture and drop it in the boiling water. When the gnocchi are cooked they will come floating on top. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the sauce.

Keep cooking all the gnocchi and shake the pan with the sauce to coat the gnocchi as you go (do not mix with the spoon as the gnocchi will break). The gnocchi will start to crisp in the sauce. Serve the gnocchi with freshly coarsely grated goat cheese or smoked cheese.

Delicious!

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