Pumpkin Gnocchi and The Awakening
Today is all about the unexpected, which, actually, seems broad because much of life is unexpected. <insert thinking hard with hand on chin emoji guy>
ANYWAY, what could possibly make homemade pasta better? Two things, guys: one, adding pumpkin because tis the freaking season, and two: not having to roll it out, which is the only slightly less than perfect part of the pasta making experience. While adding pumpkin to pasta dough is kind of an unexpected use of that orange ingredient we all love to scorn, it actually helps take the gnocchi from light, pillowy pasta to light, pillowy, chewy, perfectly balanced pasta that pairs well with just about any kind of assortment of fall toppings there are: pine nuts, bacon, kale, arugula, heck, even hazelnuts. It's a beauty of a recipe, and if the wine pairing class at wineHouse taught me anything, it's that it pairs beautifully with Tornatore Etna Rosso. If you're jealous about how I learned that, sign up for the next one on November 13 by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also unexpected was how enjoyable I found my reading of The Awakening, which I've had on my shelf since I bought it at a garage sale for $1 ages ago. It's a quick read and a powerful one, and you should check out the review here before grabbing a copy and knocking it out in a day.
Lastly, I am generally not a fan of horror. However, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix has me positively riveted. Check it out and feel free to yell at me when you can't sleep for a week.
Eggless pasta FTW.
I know you’ve heard me preach about the value of homemade pasta and thought “ugh, but rolling it out? No thanks, lady.” Well BOY do I have news for you! This recipe does involve making your own pasta dough, but the only rolling you do here is of the into-a-snake-à-la-preschool variety. It’s also worth noting that the serving style for these gnocchi is a sort of choose your own adventure game. My favorite so far has been kale, pine nuts, and fried sage leaves.
Time: 20 minutes
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of pumpkin puree
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of red pepper
3 TBSP of butter, unsalted (use coconut oil or vegetable oil to make this vegan or dairy free!)
1 small onion, diced
4 leaves of fresh sage
1 bunch of red kale, torn into pieces, or 3 cups of arugula
6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped, or 8 oz. of baby bella mushrooms, roasted
Set a large pot of salty water to boil. When I say salty, I mean salty. I usually use a nice handful of finely ground salt, and I don’t care if you judge me for it. My gnocchi will taste better than yours.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, egg, pumpkin, salt, and red pepper together until a dough comes together. Set aside for 10 minutes to let everyone get to know each other.
In a saucepan that looks bigger than you think you’ll need, melt the butter. When it’s foamy, add the onion and sage.
Cook until the onion is translucent and the sage looks kind of like it’s aged a lot in the past few minutes (in other words, wrinkly and yellowed), then add the kale / arugula.
Pretty much immediately, remove that pan from the heat and set aside. We don’t want our kale getting too wilty while we move on to pasta.
Alright, back to gnocchi: turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, then divide the dough into eight equal parts.
Roll each part out into a thin snake, then cut into one inch pieces. Don’t make this harder than it sounds. It really is that simple.
Add the dumplings to the boiling water and, as you do so, put that kaley pan back onto a medium heat.
When the dumplings are floating, use a slotted to move them to the skillet.
Stir everything together so it’s evenly seasoned / topped, then serve with bacon / pine nuts / mushrooms as you like.
Plot: Edna is a young wife, mother, and (apparently?) painter living in New Orleans when all of the sudden, she realizes she’s totally unfulfilled and in need of more in her life. Also, she meets a new man.
Thoughts: This novel is fascinating. Also, totally read-able in one day / flight. And so, completely ahead of its time.
Kate Chopin is a goddess. She writes in a way that feels fresh and relatable and vaguely reminiscent of Gone with the Wind, which, in my book, is a good thing, and she writes with a sharp awareness that she’s too cool for 1899 school. Her characters and their lives are so painfully critical of society that it’s like reading a really old version of Mean Girls but with a slightly different message. And tone. And no Regina George. But you get it.
This book will make you feel all kinds of things. Especially if you’re a woman living in the world today. As per usual, I had a problem with one part of this book: the ending. Edna’s journey to self-empowerment ends in a confusing and somewhat irrational way that I’m not going to spoil here, but if you forget the ending, this book is just a really cool read.
Verdict: It’s a classic that feels relevant today. Do it.