Sunday, 12 December 2010

Gnocchi in Walnut Sauce

Recently I had a meal at Bella Vista in Blackheath and part of the set menu was a gnocchi dish with a creamy sauce. It was so delicious I asked a waiter what was in it; he came back from the kitchen with a scrap of paper, ingredients listed.

I've never made gnocchi before but have always been a fan. My first memorable experience was of eating it bathed in a four cheese sauce in a deserted Italian restaurant in Macau. I returned the evening after and ordered the exact same thing. So often they have a tendency to be a complete stodgefest, but home-made ones are different. These were delicate as a cloud, soft and sat deceptively lightly in the belly.

The sauce, quantities guessed turned out pretty damn well too. My version was a bit chunkier but the flavour was just as I remembered. Not very pretty though.

Gnocchi in Walnut Sauce

Serves 4

750gr potatoes - I used Vivaldi
150gr flour
1 egg yolk
1 tsp salt

Boil the potatoes in their skins until tender. Peel (hold the potato with a cloth) and push through a ricer. Beat the egg yolk and add to the potato. Sift the flour and add in thirds, incorporating the flour with the potato as you go. Finally add the salt, combine well and knead lightly. It should be soft and slightly sticky.

Dust your work surface well and roll into a thin sausage. Cut into 1" pieces and press lightly into them with a fork. Place on a well floured plate and refridgerate.

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
70gr walnuts
A handful of basil, sliced finely
2 handfuls of panko breadcrumbs
2 handfuls of parmesan, grated
1 pint milk

Heat the olive oil and fry the garlic very gently. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts and chop well. Add this to the garlic and toss well. Add the milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the panko breadcrumbs and stir well. Cook for another 5 minutes, then add the parmesan and the basil. Take off the heat. If it's too thick, add a little more milk.

Put on a pan of water to boil. When it's boiling, turn down to a simmer and add the gnocchi. When they're floating they're done. Gently incorporate the sauce into the gnocchi and serve with plenty of black pepper.


miss south said...

This is so lovely looking it almost made me forget I loathe walnuts...

Catherine said...

Have often walked past that restaurant and now want to go in and try the gnocchi! Where do you get your panko breadcrumbs Lizzie?

Alex said...

Aha - walnut pesto. Very popular in genoa, and as you say, completely delicious.

Kay said...

I've got tons of homemade gnocchi left in the freezer - might have some tonight with your sauce! Sound delicious. I usually do the standard sage/butter/parmesan thing...

Kay @ Chopstix2Steaknives said...

walnut sauce sounds delicious. can't wait to try this recipe!

Laura Nickoll said...

This sounds lovely. I've shamefully bought some shop-bought gnocchi, so I can knock up the dish quickly on a week night, but will give the gnocchi recipe a go when time allows. Didn't you make ricotta and parmesan gnocchi last Nov with aubergine? I love that dish!

Helen said...

ooh I've always wanted to have a go at gnocchi! Might have a go this week when I have some time off. Mmm doughy potato bites IN MY FACE!

Lizzie said...

Miss South - perhaps try with hazelnuts?

Catherine - Do try it out - it's a lovely little restaurant. I get mine from Chinatown; normal breadcrumbs will also work.

Alex - I never thought to call it a pesto, but it makes sense. It's very addictive.

Kay - do give it a go, and let me know what you think.

Kay - thanks!

Laura - aint nothing wrong with shop-bought, just better home-made. I did make ricotta gnocchi! It's a good one.

Helen - GET IT IN YOUR FACE! You won't regret it.

Gin and Crumpets said...

How brilliant that the chef scrawled down the ingredients for you, so you could d a bit of culinary detection and come up with your own version. The gnocchi look superb.