Pumpkin Prosciutto Gnocchi

I think this dish comes from Mantua where the pumpkin is the emblem of the city and where the best ‘zucche gialle’ are grown.

Ingredients

  • 250 g/9 oz puréed, cooked pumpkin
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • freshly grated Parmesan (25 g/1 oz for cooking)
  • 175 g/6 oz prosciutto or any smoked ham, finely chopped
  • 175 g/6 oz plain flour
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • a good scraping of freshly grated nutmeg

Method

To cook the pumpkin, cut it in half, remove seeds and fibres, and place it cut side down on a buttered oven dish. Bake in a low oven for about an hour until very tender. Scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.

Whisk in the egg followed by the 25 g/1 oz of cheese and the ham. Stir in the flour little by little with a wooden spoon, then beat away for 4 minutes or so until the mixture is rather elastic. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Beat again for another minute.

Have a large saucepan of boiling water on the hob. Make little oval shapes of the dough, using 2 teaspoons if it helps. Drop the gnocchi, a few at a time, into the water. When they rise to the surface, remove carefully with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels, then transfer them with care to a fine buttered dish. Continue this poaching until all the dough is used up.

When you wish to eat, reheat the gnocchi in the oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 15 minutes. Serve with a bowl of Parmesan to scatter at personal whim.

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