>Gnocchi with Ham and Chilli Sauce
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.