When you’re trying to cook to a budget potato gnocchi is a great choice: just a few of them go a long way. Their bland nature makes them a great foil for any strong flavours. I’m a big fan of roasting vegetables so this is a super combo.
This is warming, filling, and doesn’t feel frugal! There’s lots going on with sharp, salty cheese; soft, toothsome gnocchi and rich, sweet roasted red peppers.
Approximate cost for main ingredients, excludes storecupboard ingredients (prices from Tesco.com 7th Oct 2012): £3.63
Roasted pepper and garlic gnocchi with feta (serves 1):
2 red peppers
2 cloves garlic, skin left on
100g feta, diced
- Preheat the oven on to 180°C. Put the peppers and garlic on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and pop in the oven for 30 minutes to soften and char. When soft to the touch mash the squeeze the garlic out of their skins and mash together the peppers with a fork, adding some salt and pepper.
- Get a large pan of salted water on to boil. Add the gnocchi and boil according to the packet instructions. Drain and combine with the pepper sauce, then stir the feta and rocket through. Serve immediately.
I absolutely love Two Greedy Italians. Not only are Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio the most avuncular and affable guys on TV, joshing and fondly trading insults, they also serve up some jaw-droppingly good Italian food. In the series where they tour Italy, revisiting places of their youth and being tourists everywhere else the former colleagues eat their way through just about every culinary region of the Old Boot.
In this episode traversing the Alps, they went to a region where they historically couldn’t grow wheat so used chestnuts for all their flour. Gennaro then used this to make a delicious chestnut gnocchi with mushrooms. I had to give it a go myself, but all my previous attempts to make gnocchi have been messy, hideous and not worth the effort. The recipe also isn’t listed on the site. So I bought shop-made gnocchi and improvised a sauce. This was fab, I’m definitely doing it again and I hope I’ve paid enough tribute to Gennaro’s original recipe. Watch the sweetness, you will probably need a good dose of salt to balance it out.
The recipe is probably in Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy, but I don’t have it so no guarantees!
Chestnut gnocchi (serves 2):
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
300ml beef stock
200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon chestnut puree
1 pack of potato gnocchi
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
Parmesan shavings to serve
- In a small saucepan heat some oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, a pinch each of salt and sugar and cover the pan. Cook for 3-4 mins, stirring regularly until the garlic is starting to brown. Add the Marsala and allow to reduce by half. Then add the beef stock and reduce this by half. Add the chestnut puree and check for seasoning. Keep warm while you do everything else.
- Into a frying pan add a knob of butter and the mushrooms. Fry for 8-10 mins until the mushrooms are browning, then add a good whack of black pepper. While the mushrooms sizzle, cook the gnocchi for 2-3mins in salted boiling water until floating at the top. Drain until needed.
- When the mushrooms are ready, add the sauce and gnocchi to the pan and toss vigorously to combine. Give it a final check for seasoning and top with parsley and parmesan for serving.
The title’s ironic, OK? I posted on Facebook that I was “looking for an interesting gnocchi recipe”, and that a couple of days later I had “found an interesting gnocchi recipe”. Three separate people asked me about – it’s easy to forget the reach that Facebook has.
Anywho, it’s dead easy. First I fry some spinach with a little sliced garlic until all straggly, then season and add nutmeg before removing to one side to cool. Once it’s cooled I squeeze the juice out and chop finely. Meanwhile I’ve some gnocchi on the boil (note: I made gnocchi myself once – it so wasn’t worth the effort, nor the washing up). Then I fry some pancetta in the same pan, and once crispy I throw the boiled gnocchi in the pan to absorb some hammy flavours. Then the spinach is back in to warm through, finally some creme fraiche, s&0, a touch of parmesan (I added too much the first time) and it’s done. Creamy and extremely filling.