Cider Brown Butter

1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 cup shallots
1/8 cup parsley
1/8 cup chives
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup grape seed oil
4 ounces butter

Put apple cider, cider vinegar, sugar, and shallots in a saucepan and reduce to 1/4 cup over medium-high to high heat. Remove from heat, let cool, and add the next 6 ingredients. Stir to mix and set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter and stir with a wooden spoon until the color changes to dark brown. Pour the butter into a large bowl and let it cool slightly. Add the cider mixture to the butter and mix thoroughly. May be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Bring to room temperature or warm slightly before serving.

Swiss Chard

1 bunch red Swiss chard, stems removed
salt and pepper to taste

In a pot of boiling salted water blanch for 30 seconds. Remove, pat off excess moisture, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Pumpkin Dust

4 pumpkins, large-softball size

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Peel the pumpkins and remove seeds and pulp. Roughly chop pumpkin meat and pulse in a food processor into very small pieces. Spread on a sheet pan and cook until dry (8 to 12 hours). Grind dried pumpkin in a coffee grinder and pass through a sieve to obtain dust. Yields 1 cup.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

3 pumpkins, large-softball size
4 Idaho potatoes, large
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup pumpkin dust (see previous recipe)
2 cups flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon golden raisins
1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut pumpkins in half across the middle and remove seeds and pulp. Place cut side down on an oiled sheet pan. Cool, peel, and mash. Bake potatoes until done (this can be done with the pumpkins). When potatoes are just cool enough to handle, peel and put them through a ricer (it’s important to do this while they are still warm). If necessary, return potatoes and pumpkins to oven to reheat for about 10 minutes. Then mix together and set aside. You do not have to use all the pumpkin, and you may have to add flour. Dough will be soft, smooth, and still slightly sticky.

Combine the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of warm potato-pumpkin mixture and add eggs. Then quickly stir in dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Sprinkle surface of potato-pumpkin dough with flour. Break off a handful and roll it into a long sausagelike shape about as big around as your thumb; cut the roll into 3/4-inch lengths. (Keep your working surface well floured.) Press the lengths gently with your thumb to spread out the gnocchi a bit. (There are detailed instructions on page 196 of The Classic Italian Cook Book, by Marcella Hazan, on how to press gnocchi with the tines of a fork for optimal shape and texture; it is well worth reading.)

In a pot of salted boiling water cook the gnocchi, 2 dozen or fewer at a time. When they float to the top, cook them about 8 to 10 seconds longer. Then lift out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a heated platter.

To serve, sauté as many gnocchi as you wish to eat in cider butter (reserving some butter for garnish) until golden. Place on top of a bed of Swiss chard and drizzle with warmed cider butter. Garnish with golden raisins and pumpkin seeds. Serves 4.