Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Spice Gnudi

For thanksgiving this year, after several variations I tried out on myself and friends, I made “pumpkin spice” gnudi (pumpkin ricotta dumplings seasoned with ras el hanout), with choice of hazelnut bechamel or cranberry barbecue sauce. The dumplings came out very light and airy in the method described below, but the barbecue sauce is the real keeper — I wanted to put that on EVERYTHING. I put it on Gary’s apple crisp and it was amazing.

Ras El Hanout:

  • 1 tablespoon¬†ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 tablespoon ground cloves



  • 1/2 Calabaza Pumpkin
  • 1 kabocha squash
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 32 oz ricotta
  • 8-10 cups whole wheat flour
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups grated parmesan
  • 5 TB ras el hanout
  • Olive oil (2 cups?)
  • Bread crumbs (2 cups?)


  • Way Ahead:
    • Roast the squash/pumpkins and allow to cool
    • Remove the seeds and skins from the squash/pumpkins
    • Puree the flesh until smooth
    • In a sautee pan, cook the puree until it reduces by at least 1/3
  • 1 day Ahead:
    • Stir the puree, ricotta, seasoning, and parmesan together
    • Stir in the flour a few cups at a time, adding 1 egg for each cup of flour added
    • The exact amount of flour will depend on the moisture level of your squash, but expect about 8 cups. The dough is finished when it is thick enough to pull off a piece with your fingers, but still fairly sticky
    • Roll 1″ logs of dough and coat them in flour
    • Allow to dry for at least 2 hours (on the counter) or up to a few days (in the fridge)
  • To boil, use a large but shallow cooking vessel, and fill it with 3″ salted water
  • When the water is boiling, turn it down just enough so it’s not rolling
  • Take each log in both hands, pull it apart into 2 dumplings and plunge them in the water
  • In a 12″ pan, you can boil about 2 dozen dumplings at a time
  • They should cook for about 1 minute past when they rise to the top of the water
  • Use a slotted ladle to remove them from the water, and boil the next batch
  • Liberally coat the cooked gnudi in olive oil
  • Every 3-4 batches of gnudi, if you make as much as I did, refresh the water
  • Once all of the dumplings are boiled, pour out the water and add oil to the pan, and pan-sautee the dumplings until at least 1 side of each dumpling has some carmelization
  • Serve tossed with either or both sauces below (We had one bowl of each) and crunchy breadcrumbs

Hazelnut Bechamel


  • 1 lb hazelnuts
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 24 oz cream
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Roast or steam the hazelnuts, then puree in a food processor (could take up to 10 minutes, it’s ok to add a little water to the paste)
  • Cook the flour and butter in a pan until just combined (keep it blond)
  • Add the roux (flour and butter) to the hazelnut butter, salt to taste, and puree again
  • When ready to serve, whisk this mixture in with the cream and don’t cook it, just add the gnudi very hot right out of the pan and cover the bowl for a few minutes or until the sauce is warmed through

Cranberry Barbecue sauce


  • 1 red onion
  • 1 apple
  • 1 1/2 bags cranberries
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup brown sugar dissolved in 1 cup water
  • 4-5 additional cups of water
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 TB pureed ginger
  • olive oil to cook veg in
  • salt


  • Chop the onion and apple fairly small
  • Cook the onion in oil until softened, then add the apple and ginger, stir well, and cook another few minutes
  • Add the cranberries, vinegar, maple syrup and sugar and cook until boiling, adding extra water if needed
  • Turn down the heat until simmer and cook until all of the cranberries have exploded
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce to a smooth consistency
  • Taste and salt/cayenne until it is zingy



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