I can remember in one of the first jobs I had as a chef I was given the task of making potato gnocchi. I'd not actually eaten gnocchi before, but I followed the instructions given to me and a little mentoring by the chef. I remember the process of scooping out the flesh from a mountain of baked potatoes, trying not to burn my hands in the process. The dish on the menu was a classic - gnocchi with sage butter and lots of parmesan cheese. Wow, the gnocchi were so light and soft, the dish was so simple.
Buying gnocchi in the supermarket has always led to disappointment - tasteless, rubbery parcels that I think has put many people off the delights of this Italian classic. However, here's the game changer. Our gnocchi are made to the same kitchen recipe that I was shown all those years ago and then frozen. They have not been engineered to sit for months on a shelf. This means that you get great tasting, light and fluffy gnocchi, ready to cook straight from the freezer.
This dish is really simple and quicker to make that the more British version, sausage and mash - no peeling potatoes or making onion gravy. I've used Italian style sausages which are coarser ground for a more meaty flavour, but any good quality sausage will work well. Also, there are plenty of other green vegetables that you can use, brocolli, cavalo nero, chard or spinach would all work well.
Ingredients for 2 portions
3-4 Good Quality Sausages, sausage skins removed
1/2 Dried Chipotle Chilli, chopped
A big sprig of Fresh Rosemary, needles removed from the stalks
3 Cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped
2 Fresh Tomatoes, roughly diced
100g Kale, leaves roughly torn up
200g Frozen Potato Gnocchi
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil
A good grating of Grana Padana
A good twist of Black Pepper
A generous pinch of salt
You'll need a large non-stick frying pan for this dish and a large saucepan for boiling the gnocchi.
1. Fill your saucepan with lots of water, a generous pinch of salt and bring to the boil.
2. Remove the skins from the sausages and break them into little meatballs.
3. Heat the frying pan, add a splash of oil and fry the sausages on a medium to high heat.
4. After a minute, add in the chopped dried chilli, the rosemary needles and the chopped garlic.
5. Once the sausages have browned a little, usually around 2 minutes, add in the chopped up fresh tomato. Cook for a further couple of minutes until the tomatoes start to break down.
6. Now add the picked kale leaves and mix in with the sausages.
7. The kale will take a couple of minutes to sweat down, time to cook the gnocchi. Cook them in the salted boiling water, straight from the freezer. They will take a couple of minutes.
8. Whilst the gnocchi are cooking, add a small ladle of the cooking water to your pan, this will create a little steam that will finish cooking the kale.
9. Once the gnocchi float to the surface they are done. Scoop them out, straight into you pan and gently mix with the sausages and kale. Done.
10. Serve on warm plates with a good grating of Grana Padana, a twist of black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
This dish is so tasty and really quick to make, I love it.
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The beauty of making a paella - NO STIRRING! Get it on and go and do something else, the results are stunning. There are so many variations of this Catalan classic and (just like a risotto) there are so many different ingredients that you can use. When by the coast, fish and shellfish rule, the further inland, chicken, rabbit, sausage are the key. To make a good paella, there are a few things that you need to get right, the rest will take care of itself.
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