Last Monday I sent my husband to buy some special kinds of bread buns I needed for some work photos, but when he arrived at the bakery -of course- they were already finished. So he, who had gone rather against his will and with the enthusiasm of a dead turtle, phoned me and with a rushed and annoyed voice passed me on to the sales woman, Giorgia. Obviously she knows us, as we've been going there for years, and she asked what she should give me...well, as embarrassed as I was I had no courage to say 'nothing', and quickly replied 6 rosette please (rather normal and anonymous bread buns in the shape of a rose).
Needless to say, those buns were useless for my photos... so they remained in the bag for almost a week.
This episode reminded me not only never to send my husband on work errands for me, but also that there is always a way to recycle food that is not good anymore and avoid waste.
Luckily, stale bread is an easy ingredient to re-use, as it can be transformed into amazing puddings for breakfast, or brownies or -more on the savory side- exquisite panzanella salads. This time, I used it to make gnocchi.
The first pumpkins are starting to re-appear at the market and, after not having it for so many months, this is the period when I tend to go over-board about it and bake it at least twice a week. So I combined the two ingredients, added quite a good amount of grated cheese, specifically ricotta salata and seasoned Montasio, and cooked a rustic but mouthwatering dinner.
I'm leaving the recipe here below... let me know what you think ;)
GNOCCHI WITH STALE BREAD, BAKED PUMPKIN, RICOTTA SALATA AND MONTASIO VECCHIO CHEESE
4 slices of previously baked pumpkin
2 stale bread buns (I used rosette)
1 small cup milk
1 egg yolk (no white)
2 Tbsp oat flour
Ricotta salata (grated, 1Tbsp*)
Montasio cheese (grated, 1 Tbsp*)
*You can add more if you want them to be super cheesy
1. Slice the pumpkin into wedges and bake for about 40 minutes at 180°. Once ready, remove seeds and skin, cut into small cubes and with a hand-blender, mash them until nice and smooth. Add a little bit of salt and pepper.
2. Cut the stale bread into cubes, put it into a bowl and add milk. Let soak for 10 minutes, then squeeze to remove excess liquid and put into another bowl. Now add the mashed pumpkin, the grated ricotta salata and Montasio, the egg yolk and work with your hands. If needed add the flour, but try not to exceed 2 Tbsps. If the dough seems to soft, add more finely crushed stale bread.
3. Cover your dough and let sit in the fridge for at least one hour.
4. Once the time has passed, remove dough from fridge and flour a flat surface. With your hands, take pieces of dough and roll as if to shape a sausage and with a knife cut the gnocchi (about 1 cm).
5. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add sea salt. Boil the gnocchi at medium high heat and remove them with a strainer when they come to top.
6. Pass in the pan with butter, sage and a little bit of grated cheese for a good 6/8 minutes so that they become nice and brown and crunchy. When the pan seems to get too dry, with the tips of your fingers add some water.
7. Serve hot with crushed walnuts on top, some black pepper, sage and... if you want, extra grated cheese!