Gnocchi alla zucca (pumpkin gnocchi)

As this is Jack O’Lantern week I  decided to post some recipes with pumpkin as main ingredient. Pumpkin is a very good friend for those who need to keep a special eye on their diet. It’s great for cholesterol and bladder stones. It was also used to treat diabetes 2 because it helps to reduce blood sugars. And last but not least it’s delicious. The first recipe is gnocchi and I really hope you enjoy it.

What you need:

  • 350g potatoes
  • 350 g pumpkin
  • 180 g unbleeched flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Parmesan or ricotta affumicata
  • black pepper

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 180ºC and in the meanwhile cut the pumpkin into pieces and dispose them on a baking tray. Bake the pumpkin for 25 minutes or until tender. Bring the unpeeled potatoes to the boil and cook them until tender. When all the ingredients are ready let them cool down before you start preparing the gnocchi dough.

With a knife peel the potatoes and mash them together with the pumpkin. You should obtain a lovely and colored purée.

  Add the egg, the salt and the flour , beating with a spoon until smooth. Dust a work surface with flour and knead the dough with your hands.

Dough 2

At this stage you need to divided into 6 pieces and roll each using the palm of your hands to obtain a long rope of about 1 cm thick. Please note that the perfect size of a gnocchi doesn’t exist; I don’t like gnocchi to be too big so I stick to the 1cm rule but you can make it thicker.

Cut each rope into small pieces and if you like you can press each gnocco (this is the Italian singular name!) on the tines of a floured fork.

Pieces1

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook the gnocchi in small batches. This is a VITAL part if you want a good result. If you cook the gnocchi all at the same time  they will stick together. When they rise to the surface lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain them well. You need to serve them immediately.

My favourite sauce for gnocchi is very easy. Heat some butter (or margarine, if you like) on a pan and when it’s melted add the gnocchi. Finish with some Parmesan or ricotta affumicata and some black pepper. BUON APPETITO!

DSC_5982

Basic recipe for cupcakes

Hi there! Today I will post the standard recipe to make cupcakes. You can use this one for every kind of cupcake you want as it is very easy.

What you need:

  • 125 g softened unsalted butter;
  • 125 g sugar;
  • 2 eggs;
  • 125 g white flour;
  • 1 tsp baking powder;
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract;
  • a pinch of salt;

How to make it:

Pre – heat the oven to 190°C.  Beat the softened butter and the sugar in a bowl until well combined. Gradually beat in the eggs and add the vanilla extract. Sift the flour, the baking powder and the pinch of salt in the mixture until combined to a fluffy mixture.

Dispose the mixture in your baking tray and bake the cupcakes for around 15 mins until they are golden brown. Test them with a toothpick; if it comes out clean and dry then your cupcakes are ready. Let them cool down before decorating them.

TIPS: Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature, butter included: you want it soft when you are beating it. Remember also to fill the cupcakes liners up to 2/3 only: you are not baking muffins!!