|Photo by Sergio Salvador |
I'm finally cutting into the last of my heirloom pumpkins - the Black Futsu, which is a great keeper (here's a picture of it). Figs grow well here in Albuquerque, as long they're in a warm, protected spot such as a south-facing wall, and they store well dried so you can enjoy them all winter. They're also a great container plant - I bring mine in for the winter and put it back outside in summer (if you're interested in growing a fig tree, see Lloyd Kreitzer's website, www.landofenfigment.com).
2 ¼ pounds potatoes
2 T. olive oil
3 C. winter squash, cut in 1-inch chunks
½ C. dried figs
½ C. hazelnuts
2 C. cream
1 garlic clove, smashed
Pinch of nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
1 3/4 C. flour
1 egg, lightly beaten1/2 t. salt
Peel potatoes, cut in quarters, and steam 25 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the squash cubes and toss to coat with oil. Add about a cup of water, sprinkle with salt, cover and simmer until squash is tender and most of the water has evaporated. Fry a few minutes longer to brown the edges.
Soak figs in boiling water about 15 minutes, until soft – if they are really hard, you can simmer them on the stove a bit. Chop them into ½ inch chunks. Toast hazelnuts in a dry skillet for a minute or two, and chop roughly. Simmer cream, garlic nutmeg and pepper in a small saucepan until reduced by one-quarter, then season with a pinch of salt.
Mash the potatoes while hot, then stir in flour, egg and ½ teaspoon salt. Knead for a few minutes, until a soft elastic dough is formed. Shape the dough into ropes about ¾ inch thick. Cut into ¾-inch sections, pulling them off and setting them on a dish towel dusted with flour as you go.
Boil a large pot of generously salted water and drop in gnocchi, no more than a dozen at a time. They are done when they float to the top (just a few minutes). Remove the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon and set directly onto serving plate. Top with squash, figs, hazelnuts and sauce. Serves 4.