chow italia! gnocchi

I always tell people that gnocchi is the easiest pasta to make. Mario and I have made it a few times with always great results…well, as long as we work the potatoes right. In any case, I was delighted to attend a masterclass on the Italian pasta classic – led by superchef Sean Connolly – at the SKYCITY Gibbston Food & Wine Festival in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Here is Sean’s very own potato-free recipe that’s making mouths water at his restaurant, Gusto, in Auckland.

ORGY OF MUSHROOMS with RICOTTA GNOCCHI

Serves 4
INGREDIENTS:
• 600g fresh ricotta
• 1 whole egg
• 1 egg yolk
• 60g parmesan
• 60g 00 flour
• Flakey sea salt and freshly cracked white pepper


INSTRUCTIONS:
Pass the ricotta through a sieve or mouli onto a lightly floured bench, season with salt and white pepper and make a well in the center. Mix the flour and finely grated parmesan and sprinkle over the ricotta. Crack the eggs into the well.
Using a dough cutter chop the ingredients into the ricotta to mix well then knead gently to make a dough. Roll strips of the dough onto a floured bench to form a cylinder, cut the gnocchi to size and place on a floured tray.

TO FINISH INGREDIENTS:
• 800g mixed mushrooms
(Swiss browns, portobello, oyster, enoki)
• 120g butter
• 1 small bunch Italian parsley, chopped
• 200ml dry white wine
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Flakey sea salt and freshly cracked white pepper
• Parmesan wedge for grating

INSTRUCTIONS:
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and season with salt. Cut the mushrooms into similar size pieces so they will cook evenly.
Heat a large sauté pan to a high heat. Add the mushrooms (reserve the enoki and a few Swiss browns) with a good slug of olive oil and cook until the mushrooms are roasted and golden. Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add the butter and stir until emulsified into a sauce, then add the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Carefully slide the gnocchi into the boiling water. Once they have come to the surface cook for another 30 seconds then remove from the water and allow to steam off for about a minute.
Arrange the gnocchi on your plates then spoon the mushrooms over. Finish with the enokis, thinly sliced Swiss browns and fresh grated parmesan.

Pair with a lovely Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir and Buon Appetito!
Note: Fresh gnocchi is also amazing with pesto!