Recipe: Pan-fried gnoochi with crispy pancetta

NEIL PERRY
Last updated 14:39 21/01/2014
Gnocchi

RICH AND INVITING: Pan-fried gnocchi with roast tomato and basil sauce and crispy pancetta.

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A hearty summer gnocchi could be just the thing to get you through a long afternoon or evening.

The tomato and basil sauce would also work nicely alongside a crumbed piece of veal or chicken.

You can use the tomato and basil sauce in an oven bake. Sear 6 pieces of chicken thigh fillet until browned and place in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the tomato basil sauce, and top with freshly grated mozzarella and parmesan. Serve with a simple green salad.

Take the time to make your own gnocchi. The key is, don't work the dough too hard.

PAN-FRIED GNOCCHI WITH ROAST TOMATO AND BASIL SAUCE AND CRISPY PANCETTA

NEED TO KNOW

Main ingredient Tomatoes
Type of dish Italian
Course Main course
Cooking time 2+
Serves/makes 4
Special options Nut-free

400g fresh gnocchi
olive oil, for frying
100g pancetta, thinly sliced
freshly grated parmesan, to serve
Tomato and basil sauce
1½ kg very ripe vine-ripened tomatoes
100ml extra virgin olive oil
40ml red wine vinegar
2 tbsp finely chopped thyme
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp caster sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup of basil leaves, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 150°C.

2. To make the sauce, remove the cores and lightly score the bases of the tomatoes using a small, sharp knife.

3. Place the tomatoes in a large baking dish, base side up and drizzle with the olive oil, vinegar and thyme. Roast the tomatoes, uncovered, for about 1½ hours or until they are very soft and the skin is peeling away.

4. Cool slightly. Remove and discard the tomato skins. Roughly chop the flesh and add to a medium heavy-based pan with any leftover juices, as well as the garlic and sugar. Season to taste and simmer uncovered over a low-medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently until the sauce has thickened. Stir through the basil leaves and check the seasoning.

5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the gnocchi and bring to a simmer. Once cooked and floating, remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and drain well.

6. In a large non-stick pan, heat some olive oil. Pan-fry gnocchi until golden brown, being careful not to break them. Remove from pan and set aside.

7. To the same pan, add a splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta until crisp and golden. Drain on absorbent paper and set aside.

8. Divide the gnocchi between 4 pasta bowls, top with tomato and basil sauce, crispy pancetta, a drizzle of olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper and grated parmesan.

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