Bettina Campolucci Bordi is a self-taught chef creating colourful recipes and dishes that channel the positive effects of plant-based cooking. Under Bettina's Kitchen, she hosts a range of food-focused retreats and courses, alongside sharing her vegan recipes, all of which celebrate simple and accessible ingredients.
As part of our Time to Make series, Bettina prepares a wholesome and comforting dish of pumpkin gnocchi to welcome in the new year. Observed in Italy from an older Nonna of the family, Bettina's recipe is a homage to winter ingredients, served with a delicious pumpkin seed pesto that can be generously ladled on top.
This is a great hands-on recipe that uses the entire pumpkin - flesh, seeds and all, says Bettina from her London-based kitchen. I love making this with my daughter. It can be made into a big batch and enjoyed for more than one meal.
INGREDIENTS, to make 4-6 portions
1 small Kabocha pumpkin, to make roughly 300g of pumpkin pure
3 big floury potatoes (around 500g)
250g of flour
Pinch of salt
For the Pesto (makes 1 x 250g jar)
250ml olive oil, plus extra for sealing
120g pumpkin seeds
Bunch of basil (around 30g)
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tablespoon each salt and black pepper
Grated macadamia nuts and fresh basil
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and cook your pumpkin whole for one hour. I simply place the pumpkin on a piece of greaseproof on a baking tray for 60 minutes. While the pumpkin is cooking, peel and wash the potatoes and boil them until soft.
While the pumpkin and potatoes are cooking you can make the pesto. I love using a pestle and mortar and slowly incorporating every ingredient until you have a beautiful pesto base that still has some texture. Alternatively, you can use a blender and pulse until you have a lovely chunky consistency. Once made with either method, you can store in a glass jar and top off with olive oil and set aside for later.
When your potatoes have cooked, drain properly and leave to cool. Once the pumpkin is cooked, leave to cool as well. When both are cool enough to the touch, start by opening the top of the pumpkin and scooping out the flesh and picking out the seeds. Once you have enough flesh set aside, making sure to keep the seeds.
Add the drained potatoes on a work surface and start mashing with the back of a fork. Once mashed, add the pumpkin puree and incorporate. Once the potato and pumpkin is well incorporated then start adding the flour little by little and start working the dough. Work the flour in for five to ten minutes until the dough is no longer sticky and forms easily. You should now have a soft dough that holds together, doesn't feel sticky and can be easily shaped. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Once rested, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll a piece at a time into long cylinders on a lightly floured surface, again working lightly and quickly. As you roll you will also be gently stretching the dough. Keep the surface well-floured as you don't want the gnocchi to stick. Cut the dough into thumbnail lengths, I like them rustic. I don't bother to shape and pattern them, I just cook them as they are.
Bring a large, deep pot of salted water to the boil. Working with a few at a time (don't cook more than you can cope with) drop in the gnocchi. Let them cook for 2 minutes, during which time they will pop back up to the surface. Scoop them out with a spoon and get them straight into a hot pan with olive oil. Add some of your pesto and a little bit of pasta water and serve immediately with some sprigs of fresh basil and grated macadamia nut for a nutty flavour.
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