Savory Pumpkin Sauce Takes Gnocchi to the Next Level | Kraft in the Kitchen

Savory Pumpkin Sauce Takes Gnocchi to the Next Level

This super-creamy Gnocchi with Pumpkin, Bacon and Sage Sauce is ready in under 20 minutes! Create the luxurious pumpkin sauce and pour it over melt-in-your-mouth, soft potato gnocchi, then garnish with Parmesan and fresh sage for a delicious, elegant meal that’s easy enough for weeknights.

For many years, I snubbed gnocchi after having a poor experience at a Boston restaurant. Each dumpling was hard and chewy with a sauce that slid right off of it, landing like miniature bricks in my belly with each bite. What should have been pillowy, mouthwatering parcels of potato, flour and egg were…less than desirable. I was put off.

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That is, until I was dining with a friend who ordered a gnocchi dish at a newly opened restaurant in Austin. It was winter 2011, and it turned my world upside down. A smooth Gorgonzola sauce with crispy bacon and shavings of Parmesan hugged deliciously soft dumplings. It was heaven on a plate. I was in love and convinced I needed to let a little more gnocchi into my life.

Since then, I have enjoyed pairing potato gnocchi with various sauces: basil pesto, creamy roasted red pepper and now, our new favorite in this house, a velvety pumpkin puree sauce with bacon, Parmesan, fried garlic and fresh sage. It’s irresistible on a chilly fall night, and simple enough to cook for weeknight dinners.

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Combining the tender, cloud-like gnocchi with a smooth, rich pumpkin sauce is the perfect way to get in the fall spirit. Even though autumn temperatures are still far away from us in Austin, we can still enjoy the flavors reminiscent of cooler climates.

When I’m in the kitchen, I love the challenge of remixing traditionally heavy, rich dishes into something equally tasty but lower in calories. For the creamy component of this sauce, I used low-fat milk instead of cream. The milk still yielded a delectably smooth sauce, with fewer calories than full-fat heavy cream or half-and-half. However, you could use either if you would like yours to be a little richer. I would probably do this for the holidays, or for friends and family joining us around the table (in which case, this recipe could easily be doubled or even tripled for hungry guests).

Want to cook this comforting dish yourself? It’s easy!

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While waiting for the pasta water to boil, sizzle a hearty handful of chopped bacon in a hot skillet, then add whole garlic cloves and sage. Fry it until fragrant and soft, then whisk in your pumpkin puree. Just keep whisking for a few moments, until it’s warmed through. Slowly pour in about 1/2 cup of milk while you whisk (perhaps whistling while you whisk), and keep going until you have a well-blended sauce. Bring it up to a bubbling boil, then let the sauce simmer and thicken at a slightly lower heat.

While your gnocchi is cooking—just a couple minutes until each dumpling floats to the surface—stir your grated Parmesan into the sauce and sprinkle in some seasonings (nutmeg!).

For more pumpkin ideas, check out these collections of pumpkin bread, pumpkin desserts and savory pumpkin recipes.

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