Pumpkin Gnocchi With Braised Short Ribs
Fall is all about slowly simmered smells creeping out of the kitchen, and few things smell as good as osso bucco (braised short ribs) cooking on the stove. Poured over melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin gnocchi, it's the perfect sweater-weather meal. You can switch out the short ribs for brisket, lamb shank, or basically any slow-cooking meat. With a drizzle of sage infused brown butter, it's pretty magical.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Gnocchi
NOTE: Serves 4
1 pound kabocha squash or a small pumpkin, halved with seeds scooped out
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting board and dough
A potato ricer or a food mill
Directions for Pumpkin Gnocchi
Put pumpkin or squash into a pot and add room temperature water (from the tap is fine) until covered by one inch. Cover and bring to boil over medium heat, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes (or until done/a fork can easily be poked through them). Drain, shaking a bit to dry the pumpkin or squash off. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Pass the squash or pumpkin through a potato ricer or food mill and let it cool. You should have about 2 -2 1/2 cups.
In a large bowl, make a mound of potatoes with a well in the middle. Add the egg yolks, the mascarpone, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix in the potatoes with your hands. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the flour over the potatoes and gently mix it in. You want to use an extremely gentle touch here, as the more you work the dough, the tougher and gummier it’ll get. Sprinkle on more flour, little by little, mixing the dough until it comes together. Pat the dough into a large ball and cut into 4 pieces.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Lightly flour the gnocchi as you cut them, then gently roll them along the prongs of a fork to create ridges, set aside on wax paper, and for your own sanity do not place one on top of the other. This creates a big, depressing mess. Allow the gnocchi to dry out for about 30 minutes while you get a pot of well-salted water boiling.
Pop the gnocchi in the boiling water, and cook for about 90 seconds, or until they bob up to the top. Give them about 10 seconds of bobbing at the top, so they cook through. With a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to a bowl, reserving about a 1/2 cup of pasta water.
Ingredients for Braised Short Ribs
NOTE: Makes about 8 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 pounds short ribs
1/4 cup pancetta or bacon, diced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3/4 cup carrots, finely diced
3/4 cup celery stalks, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine (like a Sauvignon Blanc)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 ounces butter
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating
20 sage leaves
Directions for Braised Short Ribs and Pasta
Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add the meat and pancetta, one-third at a time, stirring and breaking lumps with a spoon between each addition. Adding the meat gradually allows the water to evaporate—which is key if you want to brown your meat and not boil it (this whole process will take about 15-20 minutes). Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter in the oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic with a good pinch of salt and sauté for about 15 minutes.
Pour the white wine into the pot. With a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of your pan. These add a ton of flavor. Push the meat all around to make sure you scrape it all off. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, to let the alcohol cook off. Add milk, diced tomatoes (with liquid),
Add 1 teaspoon salt and a good grinding of pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower to the lowest heat and let simmer very slowly, half-covered, for two hours, stirring from time to time. In the end, the sauce should be more oil than water based and thick like oatmeal. Season to taste.
To put the pasta together, mix the butter, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and about a 1/2 cup of pasta water with the gnocchi in a pot. Drain your pasta very well and return to the pot.
Make brown butter by melting 2 ounces of butter with the sage leaves over medium heat, consistently stirring. Once the milk solids start to turn golden brown, pour the brown butter into a glass bowl (this stops the cooking process).
Plate the gnocchi and spoon some braised short rib over it, just enough to coat the pasta. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and the browned butter with sage.
A good dutch oven is so helpful with braises like this one. I’m pretty obsessed with Le Creuset’s matte white series. So chic!
Visit The Kitchy Kitchen for more recipes like this one.
Have you ever made gnocchi? How did it go?