I’m not a fan of summertime. The oppressive heat, the dehydrating wind and the fact that I can’t curl up and eat big bowls of hearty winter fare generally makes me a moody creature to be around from October to March. The fact that I was in a plaster cast for the start of summer didn’t aid my general outlook either. Nonetheless, I decided to recreate some pan-fried gnocchi that I tasted at an event – encouraged by one giant mushroom. Enter my Gnocchi with Bone Marrow and Portobello Mushroom.

A few weeks back I was invited to the Siemens’ demo kitchen on Bree Street to see private chef Matt Manning in action. Since I was still held hostage by the clunky cast at the time, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate my surroundings – although I was definitely able to experience the fare on offer.

Cue two courses of Matt’s interpretation of the humble potato and possibly one too many Hendrick’s G&Ts. After the cooking demo, spot prizes were handed out and I found myself the lucky recipient of a large and rather intimidating Portobello mushroom. Yes, I won the mushroom as a prize. I still have absolutely no idea how one goes about winning a mushroom but before I knew it, my name was called out, the mushroom passed my way (I was still a peg-leg at the time) and about three people whom I had never met before took my picture – with the mushroom. It was all quite odd.

The following day I took a good look at the monster mushroom and wondered what on earth I could possibly make from it. Generally if it’s not part of a risotto, a sauce or simply fried in garlic butter and had on toast, I’m not altogether interested in mushrooms. But what I am interested in is gnocchi – especially after getting to try Matt’s sautéed baked potato gnocchi the night before. And since mushrooms and potato generally get along, my grand plan was to fashion a sauce from the mushroom to serve with homemade gnocchi. Add to that some roasted bone marrow and one has a winter dish that doesn’t skimp on richness or flavour.

Baked Potato Gnocchi

Prep time: 30 mins / Cook time: 1.5 hours / Serves: 4

You will need:

  • 4 large Maris Piper or floury potatoes, scrubbed
  • 250ml coarse rock salt (about a cup)
  • Olive oil
  • 125ml plain flour, sifted
  • 2 organic egg yolks
  • 5ml fine salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and pour the rock salt along the middle. Using a sharp knife, prick the potatoes all over and rub with a little olive oil. Place on top of the rock salt and bake for just oven an hour or until tender. Leave to cool while you make the sauce.

To make the gnocchi, split open the baked potatoes, spoon the insides into a potato ricer and rice into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt, egg yolks and flour and use a wooden spoon to combine. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 4 portions, rolling each into a log about 30cm (a ruler) in length. Using a lightly floured knife, cut the logs into 2cm pieces. Here you can either opt for classic gnocchi and roll each dumpling over a floured fork to achieve the identifiable indentations or you could leave the gnocchi as it and sauce them in a little butter instead of boiling. I’ve done the latter. Arrange the cut gnocchi on a floured tray and cover with a tea towel until ready to cook.

Portobello & Bone Marrow Sauce

Prep time: 30 mins / Cook time: 1.5 hours / Serves: 4

You will need:

  • 1 very large Portobello mushroom or about a cup of smaller ones, washed
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 8 to 10 rounds of marrow bones
  • 25ml salted butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper
  • Parmesan, to serve

Roast the marrow bones in the oven just after you’ve removed the baked potatoes. To do this, arrange the bones on a lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast the bones for about 10 minutes or until browned. Allow to cool slightly.

In the meantime, roughly chop the Portobello mushroom/s, add to a frying pan and sauté in the butter. Remove the thyme leaves from the woody stalks and add to the mushrooms, along with the garlic. Sauté over low heat until soft and fragrant. Using a spoon or fork, extract the marrow from within the bones and add to the mushroom sauce and season to taste. Remove the sauce from the heat but keep it warm until needed.

Add a little olive oil to another frying pan and gently sauté each gnocchi dumpling until golden brown on either side. Serve the gnocchi in warmed bowls over a small helping of the Portobello & Bone Marrow sauce and a grating of fresh Parmesan.

GNOCCHI WITH BONE MARROW AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM

GNOCCHI WITH BONE MARROW AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM

GNOCCHI WITH BONE MARROW AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM

GNOCCHI WITH BONE MARROW AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM

GNOCCHI WITH BONE MARROW AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM

GNOCCHI WITH BONE MARROW AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM

GNOCCHI WITH BONE MARROW AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM

GNOCCHI WITH BONE MARROW AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM

GNOCCHI WITH BONE MARROW AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM

 

 

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