Wednesday, 24 October 2012

baked homemade gnocchi with ham, leek, mushroom & cheese

This recipe is a real comfort food dish - full of lovely homemade potato dumplings with a sauce destined to work with it - ham, leek, mushroom and can you go wrong?!  This would be great too with some wilted spinach, caramelised onions, bacon....

The gnocchi surprised me at how easy they were - OK, so there were a few lumps in the mash and
presentation is not my strong point (as the photos will prove)....but in spite of this they were delicious, light and really easy to make. 

It is really worth the effort to make the gnocchi yourselves - but if you don't want to a shop bought pack of pre-made will do just fine in this recipe. 

The following recipe makes enough for 4 people

gnocchi dough:
300g mashed potato
150g 00 flour/plain flour
1 egg
few gratings of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

ham, leek and mushroom sauce:
300g mushrooms
300g leeks
300g ham (I used a good quality smoked ham)
2 tbs chopped fresh sage
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

(obviously you can play around with the amounts I have given to your own person tastes - but this is what worked for me)

bechamel cheese sauce:
25g butter
25g flour
1/2 pint of milk
50g grated mature cheese (e.g. parmesan, pecorino, mature cheddar)

other ingredients:
1 tin chopped tomatoes/passata
2 handfuls breadcrumbs
50g grated mature cheese

  1. put all the ingredients together in a large bowl and bring together with your hands to form a smooth dough.  Be careful when adding the flour as you may need slightly more or less depending on the moisture in the potatoes. 
  2. knead it only enough to bring it together as you want to keep the dough light (too much kneading makes HEAVY gnocchi - not good!)
  3. divide the dough into 3 or 4 and roll each ball into a long sausage shape - about 2-3cm wide
  4. cut into 1.5cm widths then squash with a fork to leave a mark from the fork prongs - this helps the sauce stick to the gnocchi.   
  5. leave on a lightly floured board or plate and put in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to 'set' before boiling.
  6. when the time is up bring a pan of salted water to a slow boil
  7. add the gnocchi in batches being careful not to overcrowd the pan
  8. when the gnocchi float to the top cook for a further 2-3 minutes then drain carefully with a slotted spoon - leave to one side until ready to assemble.
ham, leek and mushroom sauce:

  1. chop the leeks, mushrooms and ham then fry off in butter and olive oil with the chopped sage until softened (about 10 minutes).  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

bechamel cheese sauce:
  1. add the butter, flour and milk to a pan and bring to the boil stirring all the time to avoid getting lumps. 
  2. when its boiling keep cooking for a further 2-3 minutes to make sure the flour is cooked out.
  3. take off the heat and stir in the cheese. 
.....and to put it all together:
  1. pour the tinned tomatoes/passata on the bottom of the cooking pan
  2. stir the cooked gnocchi into the ham, leek and mushroom sauce then place on top of the tomatoes
  3. top with the bechamel cheese sauce, breadcrumbs and extra mature cheese
  4. bake at 200C for about 15-20 minutes until its heated through and the topping is bubbling and golden


I served this with a nice glass of red wine and some crusty bread. Buon Appetito!

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