Gluten-Free Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi with Pancetta and Seared Radicchio
Serves 6 as a modest main course
Gnocchi adapted from Hank Shaw and Simply Recipes; with radicchio inspiration fromDeborah Madison via Joanne Eats Well With Others
Since radicchio can vary greatly in bitterness, taste a leaf before committing yourself and your guests to its sometimes toe-curling flavor. Extra gnocchi can be stored, dusted with millet flour, airtight in the fridge for up to a few days. Resting the dough at room temperature for an hour or two (or chilled for one or two days) makes it less sticky and easier to work with, but you can skip the rest if you're in a rush. Gnocchi novices and hurried cooks can skip the fork shaping step; the gnocchi will be a bit thicker and heavier on the palate, but they'll still be tasty. If I were making this dish for vegetarians, I'd trade in the pancetta and its fat for shiitake or chanterelle mushrooms and a couple tablespoons of butter. If gluten isn't an issue for you, use all-purpose flour in place of the potato, millet, and sweet rice. Do seek out high-quality, whole-milk ricotta (or make your own) – it will make a big difference in the finished product. I'm a fan of Bellwether Farm's whole milk, basket-dipped ricotta.
I always make this with homemade winter squash puree; my favorite is equal parts butternut and kabocha. Slice the squash in half and place cut-side-down on a lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 350ºF until soft and collapsing, 45-60 minutes. Let cool. Scrape out and discard the seeds and strings, scoop the flesh into a food processor, and blend smooth.
For the gnocchi:
1 cup (8 ounces / 225 grams) roasted winter squash puree
1 cup (8 ounces / 225 grams) whole-milk ricotta
3 large eggs
1/4 cup (1.25 ounces / 35 grams) grated Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea or kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (3 ounces / 85 grams) potato flour (not starch)
1/2 cup (2 ounces / 55 grams) millet flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 cup (2.75 ounces / 80 grams) sweet rice flour, more as needed
To finish the gnocchi (makes 2 servings):
1/3 of the pumpkin ricotta gnocchi
olive oil, as needed
3 ounces (85 grams) pancetta, diced
1/3 small head red radicchio, leaves torn into 1-2" pieces
1- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus a few pretty leaves for garnish
a few large sage leaves, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Make the gnocchi:
In a large bowl, whisk together the squash puree, ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, salt, and nutmeg. Stir in the potato flour and millet flour, then add the rice flour a little at a time until the dough starts to come together. It should be slightly sticky, but firm enough to come away from the sides of the bowl and hold a shape. Scrape the dough out onto a surface dusted with millet flour, invert the bowl over the dough, and let rest 15-30 minutes (this gives the dough a chance to absorb moisture which will make it easier to work with).
When the dough has rested, knead it for a minute or two, dusting the surface and your hands with just enough flour to keep it from sticking. The dough should feel smoother and clay-like, but still be a bit soft/sticky.
Shape the gnocchi:
Divide the dough into 6 portions. Squeeze, press, and roll one portion into a long, 3/4"-wide rope, dusting the surface and your hands with just enough millet flour to keep it from sticking. Use a knife or metal bench scraper to cut the rope into 1" lengths.
Dip the tines of a fork in millet flour, tap off the excess, and press a gnocco into the back of the fork, using the side of your finger to make a lengthwise indentation in the gnocco. Remove your finger, and fold the gnocco over itself with the back of the fork to form a crease on the back and ridges on the front. As you work, place the gnocchi on a sheet pan dusted with millet flour.
Finish the gnocchi:
Bring a medium saucepan half filled with water to a boil. Carefully drop in one third of the gnocchi (they will be soft, so I like to live on the edge and use my fingers to drop them in one by one, trying not to burn myself). When all the gnocchi have floated to the top, let them boil for 1 minute, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain. Set aside.
Coat the bottom of a wide skillet (10" or larger, preferably cast iron, or heavy stainless steel) with a thin film of olive oil. Warm over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta has taken on some color, 3-5 minutes. Remove the pancetta to a bowl, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the gnocchi in a single layer, and don't move them until they have a golden sear on the first side, 4 minutes or so. Use a pair of tongs to rotate each gnocco to the second side, and cook until crusty on that side, another few minutes. Remove the gnocchi to a platter or bowl.
Add the radicchio to the pan and cook until just wilted, tossing with the tongs, a minute or so. Add the gnocchi and pancetta back to the pan, scatter the herbs over the top, and toss to combine. Drizzle with olive oil and a bit of lemon juice, then taste for balance and seasoning.
Divide the gnocchi between two plates, and top with freshly ground black pepper and grated Parmesan. Garnish with a few pretty leaves of parsley if you like, and serve immediately.