Posted in Pasta recipes, tagged color, gnocchi, Italy, mushrooms, Nudo, orange, plain, recipe, sauce, spinach, sundried tomato, three, tricolore, wild, zest on May 11, 2012 |
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We have made homemade gnocchi twice recently. The first time we were left to our own devices, the whole process took about two hours and the gnocchi that resulted – while gratefully gobbled by hungry feasters – was a little floury and dense. The second time we made it with Guida, our Italian neighbour, professional chef and all round guru. The gnocchi were divine, the best I’ve ever eaten, and the whole process took less than an hour, from peeling of spuds to serving on plates. Guida taught us two essential things about making perfect gnocchi: the first is not to peel the potatoes before cooking them and the second is to make sure the cooked potatoes are totally cooled before going on to make the gnocchi. Obey the golden rules, and you will be singing in the celestial gnocchi choir.
Ingredients for 4 people
potatoes – 600g/21oz
wheat flour – 180g/6.3oz
eggs – 2
Parmesan – 1 spoon
Spinach – 1 large tablespoon of spinach puree
Tomato puree – 1 spoon
Boil the potatoes whole in salted water with their skins on. It’s important to leave the skins on so they don’t absorb too much water. When they have cooled completely, peel the skins off. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer then mix in all the ingredients. To make the three colours, divide three ways: add the spinach to one third to make green, add tomato to another third to make red and leave the final third as is.
Take a palm sized lump of mixture at a time and roll it into long sausages about 1cm thick. Cut into inch-long pieces to make the gnocchi, adding a little flour to prevent them from sticking. Cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water for a few minutes – the gnocchi should all rise to the surface, drain and cool them in cold water. Drain well and add some olive oil or vegetable oil to prevent them from sticking. You can keep the gnocchi like this in the fridge for up 4 days.
Ingredients for the mushroom sauce
Mixed mushrooms – 300g/10.6oz cleaned and sliced
garlic – 1 clove, finely chopped
onion – half, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Single cream – 80ml/2.7oz
Orange – for the zest
Olive oil with chillies
Brown the onion and garlic in olive oil over a low heat, add chopped mushrooms and cook them very quickly with salt and pepper. If you wish, add a little (80ml/2.7fl oz) of fresh cooking/single cream and orange zest. Cut the zest into tiny julienne-style pieces and put into boiling water for one minute (to take the bitterness off).
Cook the gnocchi in boiling water for one minute, remove with a strainer and season with the mushroom sauce. Once served, drizzle with Nudo olive oil with Sicilian chillies.
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Posted in Primo piatto recipes, tagged basil, bread, brown, buffalo, bun, fresh, Jason Gibb, leaves, mozzarella, mushrooms, Nudo, olive oil, panini, portobello, recipe, Sunday, sundried, tomatoes on April 5, 2012 |
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This is a recipe as comforting as your lover’s arms, as juicy as a ripe peach, and easy like Sunday morning. Perfect for fast food lovers who don’t want to stoop too low.
Ingredients for 2
Portobello mushrooms – 200g/7 oz
Basil olive oil – a couple of tablespoons
Salt and pepper – to taste
Floury white bun/bread roll – one per person
Sundried tomatoes – 3
Mozzarella – 140g/5 oz of the fresh gooey stuff
Basil – 12 leaves
Brush the caps of the mushrooms with the basil olive oil. You either want one large mushroom per bun/bread roll or a couple of smaller ones. Grill with the cap up for 5 minutes. Then turn over, brush the gills with more oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until cooked through. Cut the bun in half and put both halves on the grill, cut side up. Lay the sliced mozzarella on one of the halves while its still grilling. Chop up the sundried tomatoes, and when the cheese is melted pop in the mushroom, sprinkle over the tomatoes and basil leaves and enjoy.
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Posted in Primo piatto recipes, tagged adopt an olive tree, basil, basil oil, mushrooms, Nudo, olive oil, porcini, recipe, risotto, wild on October 19, 2011 |
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We’re now at the height of the porcini/cepe season, so grab your field-books and go find yourself a funghi. For the less wild at heart, go foraging at the grocer’s for the most interesting looking mushrooms you can find, and top them up with dried porcini if necessary.
Ingredients for 4
Mixed wild mushrooms – 200g/7oz
Garlic – 2 cloves
Shallots – 6
Butter – 100g/4oz
Salt and pepper
Rosemary – 1 sprig
Risotto rice – 350g/12oz
Dry white wine – 125ml/4½ fl oz
Vegetable stock – 1 litre/1¾ pints
Parsley – handful
Parmesan cheese – 85g/3oz
Olive oil with basil – drizzle
Wipe clean and slice the mushrooms. Finely chop the garlic and shallots and fry them in half the butter until they start to colour. Add the mushrooms, a grind of pepper and the finely chopped rosemary. After another minute, add the rice to the frying pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the wine, and stir it in until its all absorbed. Follow this with a ladleful of hot stock at a time, until you’ve used all the stock. Then add a good pinch of salt, the chopped parsley, the remaining butter and the grated parmesan. Serve up, adding a drizzle of basil olive oil over the top of each portion.
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Posted in Stories from the Olive Grove, tagged cathy rogers, death, fungi, hunt, hunting, Jason Gibb, life, mushrooms, pigs, poisonous on October 12, 2010 |
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There are such things as parallel universes. We discovered one recently on a barge in Wales, where the winding canals, green banks and grazing cows were simultaneously 100 metres and a million miles from the mini-roundabouts, A roads and Little Chefs in the ‘above canal’ world. We discovered another one last weekend on a fungal foray.
I’d organised the trip as a birthday present for Jason. He is reasonably obsessive about mushrooms, though he is inevitably seen as a mushroom dilettante by his properly obsessive Italian counterparts some of whom will go to any lengths (up to and including death) to snag the perfect porcino.
There’s a way of wandering around a forest that’s called ‘going on a walk’ and there’s another way of wandering around a forest that can only really be described as ‘snuffling like a pig’. The snuffle wander involves a stooping gait, a furrowed brow and a line of vision immune to the leafy beauty of the trees, the chinks of shimmering blue sky and the corruscating twinkles of light twixt the branches. Instead the snuffle walker’s gaze is focused on the browns – the fallen leaves, the muddy roots, the dank undergrowth and, mushroom-god willing, the cryptic outline of a eukaryote.
When one is spotted, the fun really begins. A single pigeon step along the pantone colour chart from one hue to the next heralds the difference between epicurean heaven and potential death by kidney melting. (Our guide dwelt quite a bit on the kidney melting). On our foray, someone found a huge porcino the size of a large melon (probably worth more than my mother’s wedding ring) and someone else found a ‘death cap’ which is literally (this great phrase that whisks me straight back to that childhood lust for danger) DEADLY POISONOUS. They reckon it was a death cap wot did it for Claudius, and he was no girl’s blouse. And the only thing that marks this killer out is a vaguely yellow tinge on the cap and a sort of baggy white sock at the base (which you’ll only even see if you remembered to be a good forager and excise the whole thing). We are talking proper heaven and proper hell, a mere few feet apart in the snug of a root.
I have a new found respect for pigs.
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The porcini mushroom hunting season is now drawing to a close, but last week my mate Marco gave me an overflowing punnet of these fine beasts that he and his mum had foraged themselves. They were fantastic, meaty, flavoursome and they keep their fleshy bulk even when you cook them. I dished them up on a rosti, a recipe stolen from over the border in Switzerland.
Ingredients for 4 people
Fresh porcini mushrooms – 150g (or 30g dried porcini)
Potatoes – 550g of a waxy variety
Butter – 3 tablespoons
Onion – one
Olive oil – for frying
Chestnut mushrooms – 150g
Garlic – 1 clove
Double cream – 4 tablespoons
Parsley – bunch
If you’re using dried porcini, re-hydrate them in a cupful of boiling water.
Then put the unpeeled potatoes in a saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil. Parboil for about 10-15 mins, depending on their size. Then drain, run under cold water and peel and grate the spuds.
Finely slice the onion and fry it till golden in 2/3rds of the butter. Add the cooked onions to the potatoes and mix in with a good dose of salt and pepper.
Now over to the sauce. Slice the chestnut mushrooms (including the porcini if you are using fresh ones) and sauté with the finely chopped garlic, in the rest of the butter, for 5 minutes. If you are using dried porcini, now add them and sauté the mix for another 5 minutes. Add the cream and chopped parsley.
Heat the olive oil in the frying pan, take a handful of the potato mix and gently mould it into a palm sized pattie. Fry it on a medium heat until golden brown on both sides, gently turning it over.
Place a pattie on a plate and spoon over the mushroom mixture. Serve with a lamb chop or some good Italian sausages.
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