Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gnocchi with Ham and Chilli Sauce

...To continue what seems to be becoming my 'Pork Fortnight', I've got one final use for the Parma Ham that worked really well.

Gnocchi isn't hard to make but does take a little effort - but if you like hearty, intense flavours then this is a good place to start. Much like making pasta, making Gnocchi is worth the effort. This basic recipe is so simple; almost a Puttanesca style sauce packed with heat and punchy Garlic. Sorry my Gnocchi recipe isn't exact - I use the basic Guidelines set out in The Silver Spoon (If you like Italian, you simply must have this book), but it varies each time. Use your gut feeling - you'll be OK. This recipe serves two, or three if you want slightly smaller portions.

I recommend you make the sauce first; I made it in the morning. The flavours intensify the longer you leave it in the pan. I wouldn't consider making this and pouring straight onto the Gnocchi. It has to sit for a while.

Ham and Chilli Sauce
One tin of chopped tomatoes
2 whole chillies, de-seeded and chopped
4 cloves of Garlic, chopped, smashed, whatever.
Good Olive oil
Parma Ham - whatever you have left - at least 1oog.
A couple of leaves of torn, fresh, Basil.

1. Heat some olive oil in a good saucepan. Pour in your toms.
2. Add the garlic & chilli, and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar.
3. Stir well and then, with a wand blender, blend the sauce to a smooth 'Passata'.
4. Simmer for about 20 minutes very low, then put the lid on and leave as long as you like.

Couldn't be easier. I find that the thinner the sauce, the better for Gnocchi, hence the blending. When you want to re-heat it, simply simmer with the Parma Ham added. Again, you don't want to cook the ham too much and kill it.

Gnocchi (very basic recipe).
Boil or steam one large potato,(huge) or two medium sized ones. Once done, mash and leave to cool. To the mash, add plain flour (about 100grams) and one beaten egg. Knead the dough, and keep working it. Add a little more flour if too wet. Soon (and keep faith with it) you will have a pliable dough. Leave to rest for five minutes, then tear off some chunks and roll into long rolls. Cut into inch-long sections, and cook like pasta in deep, salted, boiling water. When cooked, they will rise to the surface - this won't take long at all.

Then just pour on your sauce and add some Parmesan cheese. We used the rest of the Manchego and that worked really well. If you want it hotter, then add a little Tabasco. I've previously made this with Smoked Bacon - which adds yet another dimension. If you do this, just fry the bacon in the saucepan before adding the tomatoes.

We quenched the fire with Adnam's Explorer. I'm not familiar with Adnams at all (apart from the Oyster Stout, which I secretly love), and this initial brew was excellent - hops are dominant, with a lemony, grapefruit aroma running through. It was quite dry, but battled the garlic and chilli well.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of making your own pasta, I have a quick question for you Leigh, how easy would it be to make my own Linguini? Would I need any special equipment or skills?

I have developed something of an obsession for this pasta, I enjoy it best with a simple tomato sauce with cumin, pepper and fish sauce. It's an odd combination but tastes so good, I can't wait until I can try it with my own home grown roast tomato and onion pasata.

Leigh said...

john - you're right, that does sound interesting, i like the sound of it though. roast tom and onion passata also sounds excellent. Pasta sauces are so easy to make and freeze i really dont get why people buy them.
As for the the linguini - well, i use a pasta machine, which is basically a simple roller that adjusts down.
to make linguini, there is an attachment that 'shreds' the pasta sheet on it's way out, making the strips. it's easy once you have made the dough - i will email you with some helpful links. Once you get the hang of the dough, it's easy.

Anonymous said...

I may have to invest in one of those there machines you mention.

Isn't pasta just durum wheat flour and eggs? I suppose I really should google for it!

Leigh said...

John - pretty much - i use 'tipo 100' flour - basically you're looking for a strong flour. much the same as making bread!

Laura Paterson said...

I didn't realise you have to knead gnocchi dough - that could explain my previous failure!

I love making my own pasta - I usually find a mix of durum wheat flour and strong white flour works well.

Leigh said...

hi kittie, nice to meet you. yeah, a light knead will work it out fine.