Gnocchi di patate

gnocchidipatate_side

I made this as I had about 500g of mashed potato, half a tub of ricotta and some double cream (fast approaching its sell-by-date). Not a very colourful dish, but great comfort food! Serves 2.

  • 500g mashed potato
  • 130g strong (sifted) white flour (plus extra for rolling out the gnocchi)
  • 125g ricotta
  • 100g gorgonzola (grated)
  • 100ml double cream
  • Black pepper

Mix together the mashed potato, flour and ricotta. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and thoroughly mixed together. Cut into 3 pieces and roll each into a ‘sausage’ (about 2.5cm in diameter). Cut each sausage into 1cm thick slices (these will flatten out as you cut them as the potato, flour and ricotta dough is very soft), place on a floured tray, and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

Cook by boiling about 5 litres of water in a large pan. Tip the gnocchi into the boiling water (the gnocchi are likely to be a bit sticky, so you may have to ease them off the tray with a knife/spatula). Remove the gnocchi on to 2 plates as they rise to the surface of the boiling water (using a slotted spoon) and keep them warm in a low oven.

In a small saucepan, gently heat the gorgonzola and the cream, mixing all the time, until it just begins to boil. Pour over the gnocchi and grind over black pepper to taste.

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Mushroom strudel

This is based on a recipe in the February 2015 edition of Waitrose Kitchen magazine. For 2 people:

  • 10g dried porcini mushroomsMushroom_Strudel
  • 130ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot (or equivalent amount of onion – finely chopped)
  • 130g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • Leaves picked from 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1.5 tbsp port
  • 1 tbsp ricotta
  • 4 large leaves of filo pastry
  • Extra olive oil for brushing the pastry
  • 15g grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tsp brandy
  • Black pepper to taste

Place the dried porcini in a small bowl, and pour on the boiling water. Cover, and leave to stand for 20 minutes. Then drain and squeeze the porcini, reserving the liquid. Chop the porcini.

Gently heat the oil in a pan, and cook the shallot for 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and the porcini, and cook (covered) over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme, and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat, add the port, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool and stir in the ricotta.

Cut the filo pastry sheets in half widthways, and store under a damp cloth.

Layer the sheets of pastry into two lots of four, brushing each sheet with olive oil. Divide the mushroom mixture in half, and arrange each portion on a pile of pastry. Wrap each portion in the pastry, tucking in the edges, and place on a baking tray, so that the edges are underneath. Brush with oil and sprinkle with parmesan.

Cook in the oven at 200C (Gas Mark 6) for about 20 minutes, until golden.

Meanwhile boil the liquid from the porcini until it has reduced by 2/3rds. Stir in the cream and brandy, and heat to just below boiling point, and season with black pepper.

Serve with the porcini sauce.

Butternut squash and stilton pancakes

Butternut_Pancakes-tile

Last week (it was Shrove Tuesday), I found 5 pancakes in the freezer, and I also had about half a tub of ricotta (left over from Spinach gnocchi), a piece of Stilton, some double cream and a small amount for fresh spinach. I decided to make these pancakes, so I bought a butternut squash.

Enough for 2:

  • 5 savoury pancakes
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 400g butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1cm cubes)
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 100g spinach
  • 125g ricotta
  • 80g Stilton (grated)
  • Black pepper
  • 50g double cream

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the butternut squash and cook slowly until it begins to change colour, mixing occasionally.  Add water to cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.

Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, cooking gently for 5 minutes. Turn up the heat, and add the spinach, stirring constantly until all the spinach has wilted. Turn off the heat, and add the butternut squash and mix well. Beat together the ricotta and 3/4 of the Stilton, and stir into the vegetable mixture. Season with black pepper to taste.

Take a pancake and spread it with 1/5 of the mixture . Roll up the pancake and place in a shallow ovenproof dish. Repeat this with the remaining four pancakes. Sprinkle the remaining Stilton over the rolled-up pancakes and pour over the double cream.

Place in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) and cook for about 20 minutes (or until golden brown). Serve.

Spinach gnocchi

Spinach_gnocchi_Tile

This recipe is based on the recipe for ‘Spinach and ricotta malfatti’ which appeared in the dumpling recipes in the Guardian’s Cook supplement on 22 February 2014. Enough for 2:

  • 500g fresh spinach, or 250g frozen, thawed
  • 1 large egg
  • 100g ricotta
  • 140g  plain flour (the recipe said 100g, but this left the mixture too wet), plus extra for rolling the gnocchi
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 30g unsalted butter melted
  • Black pepper

Cook the (fresh) spinach in a large pan with a lid for 5 minutes. Drain and leave until cool. Then squeeze out all the water, and chop very finely.

Beat the egg and the ricotta in a large bowl. Then mix in the flour, nutmeg, spinach and half the parmesan. Add black pepper to taste.

Form the mixture into balls the size of large marbles, by rolling small amounts of the mixture on a plate of flour. Chill for 30 minutes.

To cook, add the gnocchi, a dozen at a time, to a large pan of boiling water. Cook each batch for about 2 minutes after they have risen to the top. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the serving plates (in this case two), and cover to keep warm.

When all gnocchi are cooked, reheat in the microwave (1 minute on ‘high’ for each plate was sufficient).

Pour the butter over the gnocchi, sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan. Just before serving, spoon the butter over the cooked gnocchi, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and serve at once.