Despite drawing a close to 2015 thinking that my kilt surely had one more belt hole, Christmas’ 12 days are not yet over, so #Drynuary, or any other holier-than-thou portmanteau initiative for that matter, can take a hike for now.
This recipe is stodge of the highest order and is a twist on a dish that hails from the Valle D’Aosta region in Italy – its wintery alpine climate calls for food that sticks to your ribs. So if you’re still in an over-indulgent feasting fettle, this one is for you. An ideal plate to use up some of those Christmas veggies and cheeseboards. The bitter nuttiness of the sprouts goes down an absolute treat with the delicious alla bava, literally meaning drooling, sauce. Enjoy!
Notes: (1) Gnocchi cook very quickly, so make sure your sauce is ready to go by the time you plunge the pasta in water.
Serves 2 as a main. Prep time 1hr; cook time 10mins.
For the gnocchi:
350g brussel sprouts, peeled and halved
2 tsp fine salt
handful of rock salt
handful of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
a few glugs of olive oil
For the sauce:
4 tbsp full fat milk
Nero di Troia from Puglia
Meantime London Porter
Method for the gnocchi:
- Pre-heat oven to 180C.
- Line a roasting tray with baking paper, and cover with rock salt. Place the potatoes onto the tray and bake for 40mins. Remove the potatoes and set aside to cool.
- In a mixing bowl add the sprouts, olive oil, rosemary and seasoning giving it all a good toss. Distribute evenly onto a roasting tray and place in the oven for 15mins. Remove and set aside to cool.
- The potatoes should be cool enough to handle now. Peel them, then mash (ideally with a ricer) into a mixing bowl.
- Blitz the sprouts in a food processor until you have a smooth mixture, then tip in with the potato mash, giving it all a good mix.
- Now tip out the mixture onto a work surface and pat down until you have a flat slab, around 2cm thick.
- Combine the flour and fine salt in a bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the potato mixture. Hold back some of the flour as you may not need all of it. The less flour you’re able to use the better as it’ll keep the gnocchi lighter.
- Work the flour into the potato mix, insuring it’s incorporated evenly. The end result should be a slightly sticky, pliable dough.
- Divide the dough into 5-6 pieces, and roll each out into 2cm thick sausage shapes, then chop up into 2-3cm chunks.
- Using your thumb, roll each piece down the prongs of a fork, giving them a slight indent with your thumb on one side. This will help the gnocchi hold on to the sauce.
- Your gnocchi are done! Set aside on a lightly floured surface ready to be plunged in boiling water.
Method for the sauce:
- In a pan add the milk and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Spoon in the mascarpone and break in the stilton, then season with salt and pepper.
- Slowly whisk or stir for 3-4mins as the cheese melts and the sauce thickens.
- Plunge the gnocchi in boiling water and cook until they surface. This should only take a minute or so.
- Drain and stir into the sauce then serve up with a last twist of black pepper!
Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!
What is your favourite stodge food?