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Baked pumpkin gnocchi with pesto cream sauce

Serves   4
Prep time: 1 hour 5 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour

"Delicious roasted pumpkin with dreamy pesto sauce. Its origins are in Italy. I love pumpkin and pesto, simple really. I wanted to make an unusual Italian inspired recipe for a large crowd. I cook for friends and my partner. Wonderful complex combination of flavours and textures."





  • 1 medium butternut pumpkin
  • 250gm ricotta
  • 2 or 3 eggs
  • 4 shallots
  • A little lgt muscovado sugar
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Some butter
  • Grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup semolina
  • 300ml double cream
  • Lemon zest
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • Home made basil pesto
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Parmesan shavings
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Crisp prosciutto slices
  • Rocket salad with toasted pine nuts
  • Roasted and marinaded capsicums


  1. Place capsicums under grill and toast until blackened. Remove and allow to cool a little. Peel off skins and place capsicums in a shallow dish with a little crushed garlic, ex vir olive oil, some capers, a dash of sherry vinegar and some salt and pepper.
  2. Peel and slice shallots. Place in a shallow fry pan over gentle heat with some olive oil and a little butter. Cook until soft and sprinkle in a little muscovado sugar. Remove from the heat.
  3. Peel, de-seed and chop pumpkin. Boil until tender. Drain well and then mash. Place 2 and 1/2 cups of the pumpkin in a large bowl. Add ricotta, eggs, shallots, parmesan, garlic, pepper, a dash of ex vir olive oil and nutmeg. Finally add the semolina to give a stiffish consistency and a little salt. Place mix in a greased and lined rectangular o/p dish and smooth the top surface level. Bake at 200 C for about 30 to 35 minutes till firm to the touch and golden brown.
  4. While pumpkin is baking put the cream in a heavy based saucepan with some salt and pepper, zest of 1/2 a lemon and the garlic. Allow to reduce a little.
  5. Make your basil pesto to your taste. Lay prosciutto slices on a grill pan.
  6. When gnocchi is done remove from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove from dish and cut into 30 mm chunks. Place pieces on an o/p shallow dish and pour over a little of the cream sauce. Return to the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes till golden brown and bubbling. Quickly grill the prosciutto till crisp.
  7. Serve the gnocchi onto hot plates, pour over a little more hot cream. Drizzle with pesto and extra virgin olive oil. Decorate with shavings of parmesan, fresh basil leaves and prosciutto. Place a few capsicums on the side and a bowl of freshly dressed rocket salad topped with toasted pine nuts.