Recipe: Potato gnocchi with prawn ragu

FRANK CAMORRA
Last updated 16:47 23/07/2013
Potato Gnocchi
MARINA OLIPHANT

FULL-FLAVOURED: Potato gnocchi with prawn ragu.

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Though I'm known for Spanish cooking, I used to make gnocchi every day when I worked at the Grossi restaurants in Melbourne.

The simple flavours that go with this rustic pasta are the key to how delicious this dish can be. First and foremost, you must be able to taste the potato, so use a good variety. I have found Toolangi Delight works best. This potato doesn't absorb too much water, so you don't have to add a lot of flour, which masks the earthy potato flavour. If you can't find Toolangis, desiree or royal blue potatoes work fine.

Prawn ragu is an interesting recipe that people have a hard time getting their head around - cooking prawns for more than an hour! The long, slow cooking of the prawns, tomato and Noilly Prat results in a sauce so rich and full flavoured you won't need anything else with this gnocchi dish - OK, maybe just a green salad.

NEED TO KNOW

Main ingredient Potatoes
Type of dish Italian
Course Dinner
Cooking time 30 min - 1 hour
Serves/makes 8
Special options Kid-friendly

Prawn ragu
150ml olive oil
90g butter
4 shallots, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
150ml Noilly Prat
600ml tomato passata
600g prawns, tails removed and minced in a food processor
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Potato gnocchi
1.8kg low-starch potatoes
200g plain flour for every 1kg potato puree
1 egg
1 tbsp sea salt

For the Prawn ragu:

1. Place a heavy-based pot on the heat and add oil and butter. Add shallots and garlic then sweat on a gentle heat for eight minutes. Add Noilly Prat and cook for five minutes. Add passata and prawn mince then mix together well.

2. Add bay leaves and simmer gently for one hour. Add water if the sauce dries out while cooking.

3. After mixing ragu with gnocchi, sprinkle with parsley.

For the potato gnocchi:

1. Boil potatoes with skin on until cooked through. Test by pushing a skewer through them. Drain potatoes immediately, then, wearing disposable gloves, peel potatoes. It is important to work fast, to make the gnocchi while the potato is warm.

2. While peeling potatoes, put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Mash peeled potatoes with a mouli or ricer as you go, until they are all peeled and mashed. For every kilo of mashed potato, weigh 200 grams of flour.

3. Place half the flour on the bench and place the potato on the flour. Add the egg and salt to the potato, then top with the remaining flour.

4. Mix the flour, egg and potato together with your hands until well combined and a dough is formed. Knead dough gently for about a minute; the more you knead the tougher your gnocchi will become.

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5. Check the dough by pushing it gently, it should spring back. When it does, cut off small amounts and roll into long logs the diameter of your thumb. Make sure water is boiling.

6. Start cutting small pieces from the log about the width of your thumb, roll onto a floured plate then tip them into boiling water a few at a time - you want the water to come back to the boil quickly.

7. As soon as the gnocchi comes to the top, lift out gently and toss through prawn ragu. Serve hot.

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