Donal Skehan: Gnocchi ripieni al sugo (Stuffed gnocchi in a tomato sauce)
Transfer the sauce and the gnocchi to a serving dishes and garnish with basil leaves and more Parmesan cheese.
- Serves: 4
- Cooking Time: 90 mins
- Course: Main Course
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serves 4
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 x 400g tins whole plum tomatoes
- A good handful of fresh basil
- For the filling
- 50g of butter, plus extra for the top
- 50g of plain flour
- 500ml of milk
- 50g Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg yolk
- For the gnocchi
- 500g floury potatoes, preferably Rooster, peeled, about 4 medium
- 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 large egg
Pillow-soft potato dumplings stuffed with a Parmesan filling, gently poached until tender and served in a simple tomato sauce is still a dish of my dreams. In theory you could also stuff the gnocchi with a ricotta and spinach filling, which would be delicious, but would no doubt incur the wrath of an Italian person somewhere. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and place directly on the rack in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place a saucepan over a medium high heat and add in the butter. When it’s completely melted and foaming add in the flour and whisk until you have a roux. Cook for 2 minutes before whisking in the milk. Continue to whisk until smooth and cook until the sauce holds a figure of eight when swirled with the whisk. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and stir in the nutmeg.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Whisk through the Parmesan cheese, salt, nutmeg, olive oil and egg yolk until smooth. Set aside.
Prepare the sauce by frying the onion, carrot and celery with some olive oil over a medium high heat for 6 minutes or until softened. Add in the tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes, stirring regularly and mashing with the back of a fork to ensure a smooth sauce. Season to taste.
When the potato is cooked, remove the potatoes and allow to cool completely. Slice each potato in half and scoop out the flesh. Discard the skins.
Put the potato through a potato ricer over a mixing bowl and then add the flour, egg, and a generous amount of salt and black pepper. Mix to a dough, then turn out on to a floured work surface and knead gently for 2 minutes.
Divide the dough in two and roll out gently into a long rectangle, approximately 5mm in thickness. Add tablespoons of the cheese sauce mixture at regular intervals about 5cm apart leaving space to fold the dough over the filling. Fold the dough over the filling and gently press around the filling. Using a 5cm circular pastry cutter or a glass, cut out discs of stuffed gnocchi. Repeat with the filling and remaining dough.
Cook the gnocchi, in batches, in a large pot of boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes or until they rise to the surface. Drain and place in the tomato sauce, carefully turning to coat. Transfer the sauce and the gnocchi to a serving dishes and garnish with basil leaves and more Parmesan cheese.