Learn how to make Pumpkin Gnocchi at home. It’s a fun meal to make with the kids that channels the delicious flavors of fall. Pair the pumpkin gnocchi with a quick and simple Parmesan cream sauce for a comforting fancy dinner in.
My family loves traditional gnocchi so I am always looking for new versions to make to help my family explore different flavors. They enjoyed when we made sweet potato gnocchi so I figured with pumpkin being in season and really cheap why not try a pumpkin version.
This time I decided to do a Parmesan herb cream sauce which was a nice pairing with the pumpkin. The sauce comes together quite quickly and is made using mostly pantry ingredients.
You could also do a simple sage butter sauce which is another really popular option to pair with the pumpkin gnocchi. Serve with some greens like our favorite apple, bacon, and goat cheese salad and another kid favorite rolls (and grown up favorite too even if they don’t want to admit it).
Table of contents
- canned pumpkin
- Russet potatoes
- whole milk
- Fresh Parmesan cheese
- Fresh sage
- Fresh oregano
- salt and pepper
- ground all spice
- ground ginger
- ground cloves
- dried rosemary
You could easily substitute the pumpkin for butternut squash which is much more accessible during the summer months.
Can I use homemade cooked pumpkin?
You can of course make this with your own homemade cooked pumpkin. If you want to make this with fresh pumpkin, roast a pie pumpkin until it is just tender, remove the skin and mash.
If you are using the jack o lantern pumpkins, I have found they tend to have more liquid so place the mashed pumpkin in some cheesecloth and place in a strainer over a bowl. Allow it to drain for 15-20 minutes before using. If it still seems too wet, allow it to drain for longer.
How to make this
I’ve got a detailed walkthrough here if you are nervous. Once you’ve got the process down it isn’t difficult despite what you may think. Making homemade pasta is a lot easier than most people think!
I always tell people, if you can play with playdough and make playdough snakes, then you can make gnocchi! That’s why it’s a great activity to do with the kids.
They love helping roll out the gnocchi into the long snakes at the end of the process. It’s also really great to involve them in that step in particular because I find it the most time consuming part.
How to make the gnocchi
- Microwave the potatoes just until they are pierced easily with a fork or knife. Allow to cool slightly before peeling the potato skin off.
- Mash the potatoes or use a potato ricer (see top tips section).
- Add the flour, spices, and salt to a bowl.
- Then add the pumpkin and eggs to the bowl. Mix it all together until a soft, but not sticky, dough forms.
- Allow the gnocchi dough to rest for 10 minutes covered with a dishcloth or plastic wrap.
- Divide the dough into 4-6 pieces.
- Roll the divided dough into long snakes about 1/4 inches thick. Repeat with each of the smaller dough balls.
- Cut the ropes into about 1 inch pieces. If you would like you can roll the individual pieces with the tines of a fork but this is not a necessary step.
- Place the finished gnocchi on a cookie sheet or a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour to prevent the gnocchi from sticking.
- To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in small batches and cook for 2-3 minutes until the gnocchi rises to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
How to make Parmesan cream sauce
- Melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the flour and mix well until completely combined to make a roux.
- Slowly, add a little cream whisking to make sure to completely incorporate the roux into the cream. It should be nice and smooth with no lumps.
- Continue adding the cream a little at a time until you have used all of it.
- Add the shredded Parmesan cream and whisk again until smooth.
- Add the herbs and whisk again to incorporate.
- Immediately toss the sauce with the warm pasta.
Storing leftover Parmesan cream sauce
You can store any leftover sauce in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Although you can freeze the sauce, the texture of the sauce can change upon thawing due to the cream and cheese. For best results, I would freeze the sauce in an ice cube tray. To reheat the frozen sauce, place the frozen sauce cubes in a pan over medium low heat. Once the sauce starts melting, keep stirring until no lumps remain.
What is a potato ricer?
A potato ricer is a metal tool that you sieve the potatoes through. You place the potatoes into the bucket and press the handles together to push the cooked potato through the tiny holes. It functions the same as a garlic press does.
I like to use a potato ricer when making gnocchi which breaks down the potatoes really smoothly for the dough. It creates perfect tiny little pieces of potato so you don’t have to worry about accidentally finding an un-mashed potato piece in your dough.
Can you freeze leftover gnocchi?
Yes! Lay the uncooked gnocchi out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Freeze for 2-3 hours until completely frozen before placing into a freezer safe bag or container.
To cook frozen gnocchi, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the frozen gnocchi to the pot in small batches and cook for 3-5 minutes until cooked through
I topped the pasta off with some fresh parsley which helps to give it some good color but isn’t entirely necessary for taste. So don’t feel like it’s 100% necessary for the dish.
Other recipes you might like
- Quick and Easy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies
- Goat Cheese Lasagna
- Pumpkin Sausage Penne Pasta
- Easy Kale Pesto Chicken Alfredo
For parmesan cream sauce:
- 2 Tablespoon butter
- 2 Tablespoon flour
- Dash black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 Tablespoon rosemary
To make gnocchi:
- Bring a large pot of water with 1 Tablespoon salt to a boil over high heat.
- Cook potatoes by piercing the potatoes with a fork and microwaving for 5-6 minutes until tender. You should be able to easily cut through the potatoes with a knife.
- Peel the skin from the potatoes and then pass the potatoes through a ricer into a larger bowl.
- Meanwhile, combine the flour, kosher salt, and spices in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the flour mixture, eggs, and pumpkin puree to the potatoes. Using your hands, gently combine the ingredients until the dough is smooth and soft. Try to add as little flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Lightly dust your work space with flour. Divide dough into 4-6 pieces. Roll each ball into a long snake about 1/4 inch thick. Cut your rope into 1 inch pieces. Place the finished gnocchi onto parchment paper or cookie sheets lightly dusted with flour.
- Cook the gnocchi in batches in the salted boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes until gnocchi rises to the surface. Using a large slotted spoon remove gnocchi. Repeat as needed until the gnocchi is all cooked.
For the parmesan sauce:
- For the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir until completely mixed.
- Add milk a little at a time and stir well after each addition. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
- Add shredded cheese and stir until completely melted and incorporated. Add fresh herbs and stir, cooking for 1 minute more.
- Pour over hot gnocchi and toss before serving.