This is a surprisingly simple dish, rich in flavor and color. People who follow gluten-free diets probably will already have the special all-purpose flour blend that was called for in the original recipe for the dumplings. But all-purpose flour works just as well if you don't cook gluten-free.
Serve with a crunchy salad of thinly sliced fennel, orange slices and dill.
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus more for the cooking water
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 6 slices (4 ounces) thick-sliced reduced-fat bacon
- 1 head radicchio
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 15 ounces (1 can) pumpkin puree (do not use pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup flour or gluten-free flour blend (see headnote and NOTE)
- Leaves from 4 to 6 stems flat-leaf parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels.
Meanwhile, finely chop the onion to yield about 1 cup. Coarsely chop the bacon into small pieces and place in a very large saute pan or nonstick skillet. Remove any wilted or discolored outer leaves from the head of radicchio and cut out the core, then cut the radicchio into 1/4-inch strips to yield about 3 cups.
Cook the bacon pieces over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pieces are crisped. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the paper-towel-lined plate.
Add the onion and crushed red pepper flakes to the saute pan; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the onion has softened. Reduce the heat to low.
While the onion is cooking, combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, flour or gluten-free flour blend and the teaspoon of salt in a large bowl; stir to form a soft dough.
Add half of the just-cooked onion mixture to the dough, mixing to incorporate.
Use a soup spoon to scoop out some of the mixture, then transfer the scoop to a second soup spoon to help shape an oblong dumpling (called a quenelle). The more time you take forming tidy quenelles, the more likely the dumplings will not fall apart as they cook. Gently push off the formed dumplings into the pot of water; repeat until half of the dough is used. Cook the first batch of dumplings for 3 minutes; they will float to the surface and puff slightly. Once they rise to the surface, cook for 2 minutes, then use a slotted spoon or a Chinese skimmer to transfer them to the saute pan with the remaining onion mixture, draining as much water as possible; toss gently to coat with the bacon fat, and increase the heat to medium-low.
When the cooking water begins to bubble at the edges again, use the remaining dough to form more dumplings and cook them the same way, then transfer them to the saute pan or skillet. Add the bacon and toss gently to incorporate.
Add about three-quarters of the radicchio and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt; increase the heat to medium-high and cook for about 2 minutes or just until the radicchio has wilted, trying not to break up the dumplings as you stir a bit.
Finely chop the parsley leaves to yield about 2 tablespoons.
Divide among individual wide, shallow bowls. Top each portion with some of the remaining (uncooked) radicchio and the parsley. Serve hot.
NOTE: To make Nardone’s all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, combine 6 cups of white rice flour, 3 cups of tapioca flour, 1 1/2 cups of potato starch (not potato flour), 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of xantham gum in a quart-size resealable plastic food storage bag. Seal, and massage or gently shake to incorporate. Store in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Adapted from Silvana Nardone's "Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals" (Sprig, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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