Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 14 March 2013 Contents WHAT’S COOKING
Page 12 | 14 March, 2013
For many of us, pasta is a regular
fast-food meal at least once
a week. A vegetable, meat or
cheese sauce can be quickly
prepared in the same amount
of time it takes you to cook the
pasta. However, pasta can also
be dressed up as a dinner party
I’ve included gnocchi (pronounced
nokki) in my recipe mix this week
as it provides a similar base for
sauces as pasta. Gnocchi are
similar to little dumplings and can
be prepared from semolina, plain
flour or potato. Other ingredients
such as spinach, ricotta and herbs
can be incorporated. Sometimes
pumpkin replaces the potato. The
potatoes must be of the floury
variety (eg Ilam Hardy, Red rascal,
Agria), not waxy, otherwise the
potato mixture will be more like
wallpaper glue than dumplings.
In Italy, gnocchi – as with pasta –
is often enjoyed as a first course.
Gnocchi are best when home-
made but commercial varieties
are available from the chiller
cabinet near the fresh pasta in
your supermarket. I prefer to cook
the commercial variety for at least
5 minutes, until they are tender.
To cook either pasta or gnocchi,
bring a large saucepan of salted
water – at least eight to 12 cups –
to the boil. Slowly add the pasta or
gnocchi so the water stays on the
boil. Home-made gnocchi will take
a shorter time to cook than the
Dinner party pasta dishes often
take a while to prepare but are
generally a meal in one dish and
easy to serve.
Pasta and gnocchi
2 each: garlic cloves, medium
carrots, celery stalks
6 medium tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
500g lean farm-raised venison
2 teaspoons each: dried basil,
freshly ground salt and black
pepper to taste
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup each: good beef stock, milk
Crush the garlic, dice the carrots,
celery and onion. Blanch the
tomatoes briefly. Peel and halve.
Squeeze out and discard the
seeds then dice the tomato flesh.
Heat a little oil in a large, non-
stick frying pan. Sauté the onion,
until softened. Add the garlic,
carrots and celery and sauté for 2
minutes. Place aside.
Heat a little more oil. Pan-fry the
venison until lightly coloured.
Return the veggies to the pan.
Stir in the herbs, seasonings and
tomato paste until well combined.
Slowly add the stock and milk.
Cover and simmer on low heat for
about 1 hour, stirring gently once
Serve with gnocchi and a crisp
salad. Serves 4.
Venison ragu with
500g mashing potatoes (floury, not
3⁄4 cup flour plus more for dusting
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 small egg, beaten
Halve and peel the potatoes.
Steam, until cooked. Drain well
and pat dry. Pass through a ricer,
mouli or sieve while still warm.
Sprinkle with the flour and salt.
Add the egg and mix until well
combined. Knead the dough
briefly until smooth but not sticky.
Divide into 4 portions. Roll out into
a rope about 1cm thick and about
30cm long. Cut into 2cm pieces.
To cook, bring a large saucepan
of salted water to the boil. Add the
gnocchi in batches and cook until
most have floated to the top and
they are tender.
400g bunch spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium, onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
500g lean minced lamb or beef
400g can diced tomatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
freshly ground black pepper to
45cm x 28cm sheet fresh pasta,
150g mozzarella, thinly sliced
Topping: 75g butter, melted
4 tablespoons finely grated
Steam the spinach, until wilted.
Drain well, cool, then squeeze dry.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying
pan. Sauté the onion, until
softened. Add the garlic and
minced meat and stir-fry until
lightly coloured. Add the tomatoes
and simmer until almost dry. Stir
in the spinach, egg and pepper.
Place the sheet of lasagne on a
flat surface. Spread the filling over
the pasta to within 2cm of each
side. Top with the mozzarella.
Fold in the 2 long edges about
2cm. Moisten with a little water.
Starting at a short end, roll up the
pasta. Wrap in muslin or a clean
chux cloth. Tie the ends and then
every 3cm. Place about 6cm of
water in a large frying pan and
bring to the boil. Place the roll in
the water, cover, and simmer for
Carefully remove the roll. Remove
the muslin. Cut into 2cm pieces.
Arrange on heat-proof plate.
Drizzle with butter and sprinkle
with parmesan. Grill until sizzling.
Serves about 6.
600g pumpkin, peeled and seeded
1 onion, diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon each: chopped
rosemary leaves, thyme leaves
freshly ground salt and pepper to
8 each: button mushrooms, cherry
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
400g potato gnocchi
250g light sour cream
200g soft goat’s cheese, chopped
Topping: 1⁄4 cup dukkah
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Cut the pumpkin into 2cm dice.
Place in a roasting dish with the
onion. Toss in 2 tablespoons of
the oil. Sprinkle with the herbs.
Season. Roast for about 15
minutes, until almost cooked,
stirring occasionally. Add the
mushrooms and continue cooking
for another 5 minutes.
Remove the pumpkin mixture
from the oven and stir in the
cherry tomatoes and spinach.
Place in a baking dish
Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi in
a large saucepan of boiling water
for about 5 minutes until they
rise to the top and are tender.
Drain and add to the pumpkin.
Dot with the sour cream and
goat’s cheese. Cover with foil and
reheat for about 20-30 minutes,
until bubbling. Sprinkle with the
Great served with a simple green
salad. Serves 4.
Pumpkin & gnocchi gratin
400g spinach, trimmed
2 small carrots, grated
737g jar tomato & basil pasta
sauce or similar
1⁄2 teaspoon each: fennel seeds,
flaked chilli peppers
500g low-fat cottage cheese
1 large egg
150g fresh mozzarella, grated
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
5-6 oven-ready lasagne noodles
Preheat the oven 180°C.
Steam the spinach, until wilted.
Place in a strainer and squeeze
out the water. Finely chop then
squeeze again. Combine with the
Combine the pasta sauce with
the fennel seeds and chilli flakes.
Beat the cottage cheese, until
fairly smooth. Fold in the spinach
and carrots. Stir in the egg, grated
mozzarella and parmesan. Set
Spread 3-4 tablespoons of the
pasta sauce mixture on the
bottom of a 20cm oven-proof
square pan. Top with a layer of
lasagne. Spread with a 1⁄3 of the
cheese and vegetable mixture
and top with a 1⁄3 of the pasta
sauce mixture. Repeat making
three layers, ending with the
pasta sauce. Top with the extra
Cover the lasagne with foil
ensuring it does not touch the
cheese on top. Bake for 1 hour,
uncovering during the last 10
minutes of cooking.
Remove from the oven and allow
to set for 10 minutes before
cutting. Great garnished with fresh
basil. Serves 6-8.
Similar to making a sponge roll. A sheet of fresh lasagne is rolled
around a spinach, cheese and meat filling, then poached, sliced and
grilled. It can be cooked ahead then sliced and grilled before serving.
Lean, farm-raised venison simmered on low heat to allow the flavours to
develop and served with home-made potato gnocchi.
Prepare ahead. Dust with flour and store, covered, in the refrigerator.
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