Potato Gnocchi With Prawns or Scampi

Never throw out your left over mashed potato. Unless of course you lavish your mash with butter and cream, that simply wont work. But if you make fairly straight up mash its the ideal base for making gnocchi. Having said that who wants to make gnocchi….apart from me…..not many people. So buy a pre made one but please buy a decent one. Read the ingredients, get a brand that doesn’t have packs of preservatives and is made from real potato not reconstituted potato.

So this recipe combines two of my favourite things, prawns (preferably scampi, go get the frozen ones from the fish market) and cream. Mmmmmm cream. So many people I know think that seafood and cream are exclusive. Chowder, that is all. I will save the New England chowder recipe for another day. So lets make a lavish dish, this is not for the health concious but since when did healthy taste good.

Recipe: Potato Gnocchi With Prawns or Scampi

Ingredients

  • Gnocchi for 4 people
  • Olive Oil
  • 400g of prawn or scampi meat chopped into bite size chunks
  • A small handful of flat leaf parsley chopped roughly
  • One cup of white wine
  • 100Ml of cream
  • 200g of cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel the prawns and place the heads and shells into a small saucepan with one cup of white wine
  2. Simmer the shells for about 10 minutes and crush them in the wine with a large spoon
  3. Strain the wine liquid thru a very fine seive, or a piece of kitchen paper in a strainer, you want semi clear liquid
  4. In a pot of boiling water cook the gnocchi in batches, as the gnocchi rises to the top of the pot remove it with a slotted spoon and keep warm
  5. In a large fry pan heat some olive oil and then toss in the prawn meat and flat leaf parsley and toss it to quickly sear the prawn meat
  6. Add  4 tablespoons of the wine mixture to the prawns in the pan and reduce the liquid to 1/4 of its original volume over high heat stirring
  7. Add the tomatoes and shake to combine
  8. Add the cream and stir then simmer for a minute or so
  9. Place the gnocchi on to warm plates and then spoon over the prawn sauce mix
  10. Top with cracked pepper and some grated parmesan and serve immediately

Quick Notes

Scampi is a much better option for this dish however they can be hard to get. If you get prawns try to get them as fresh as possible. Watch out for black marks on the body and legs this means they have been frozen and defrosted more than once.

Cooking time (duration): 10

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meal type: dinner

Culinary tradition: Italian

My rating: 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Confessions of a Wine Addict

This is one of those stories with a bit of tragedy mixed in with pile of passion for wine. You see I am at that age where I probably shouldn’t be drinking to much but I can not help it. You see Peter Logan makes me drink, let me explain why. I think I really get where he is coming from as a winemaker. I am a huge believer in the idea that wine can be good and sensibly priced, that the price you pay doesn’t always determine the quality. I am also big on the idea that wine is completely personal, that each of us like different things and if someone likes the taste of a wine then they should be able to enjoy it. Regardless of whether it costs eight dollars or eighty.

This story starts in a supermarket chain liquor store maybe three years ago. I knew the people there fairly well, I am sure I put one of their kids through college. It was right at the beginning of what can only be described as a surge in Australian Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris). I walked in and asked the guys for a pinot gris but I didn’t want to blow a lot of money. He put a bottle of Logan Weemala Pinot Gris in my hands and said “this thing bats way above its weight, it kicks bottles that costs thirty plus dollars and its only fifteen bucks” and I can never resist a challenge like that. And he was right. I went back the next day and bought all the stock they had. The beginning of the end for me.

Some eight months later we spent a weekend in Orange with some friends while I did some work on their computers. Lo and behold one of the top listed recommendations for a vineyard to visit, the Logan vineyard. We never made it there because we had to head back to Sydney however on my return I discovered back on the bottle shop the next gem on my journey, the Hannah Rose. Allegedly named after Peters wife, she must be completely brilliant because the wine is too. Many a bottle of that went down over winter with plenty of pork, my other most favourite thing. But just when you think it cant get any worse it does.

My local pub has a small bottle shop and in it they stock the Apple Tree Flat Semillon Savignon Blanc. And here is where it goes totally pear shaped. It is only about twelve dollars a bottle, and its wonderful. So now I am sure that I am personally responsible for Peter Logan’s new tasting room. Because we down a bottle of this one almost daily and I have put other people onto it as well.

So when it can not get any worse, yesterday, we tried the Logan Shiraz. And now I am deeper in than I ever was. I wonder if he sells shares in the business. I think that this tale has a plot that I like. It’s a plot about passion, clearly Peter is passionate about what he does, he believes in it all and so do I. It is exciting to grab a bottle of wine that blows you away these days where you didn’t have to mortgage your soul to afford it. So you see Peter Logan makes me drink, I have no choice. And if I can make my dream to own a cafe in the country come true I reckon the wine list will be sorted too.

But I will leave the last words on this piece to Peter himself taken off the back of the bottle last night as the second bottle of Shiraz (we started in the afternoon) washed down a six hour slow cooked greek lamb. “Pour a big glass. We like big glasses.” Abso-bloody-lutely!

Note: The Logan website is built with out the ability to link to individual wines and pages. What is this the 90’s? Lets hope that the developers actually get that fixed so that I can point you to individual gems another day. Plus I do drink loads of other wines, possibly too many.

Edit:

Just in case you dont believe me here is today’s leftovers, and there are two more in the fridge.

Nonna’s Tagliatelle Bolognese – the real deal

Possibly one of the worlds most famous dishes is a Bolognese style sauce with pasta. There are possibly thousands of variations each one claiming to be original. Despite this the basic meat ragu sauce is at the heart of so many Italian dishes including Lasagne. An interesting fact here is that in Bologna the home of the sauce it was never served with spaghetti only with tagliatelle and there are some good reasons why. The sauce itself is extremely heavy and rich if made well and it needs a decent weighted pasta to carry it. The cooking time is long however its worth it, why not start it early afternoon go out and see some art and when you get home it will be ready to go.

This recipe is the simplest thing you may ever cook but it is also one of the most fantastic tasting. It is incredibly cheap and like many Italian dishes it comes from the heart and its great for using left over beef and pork mince. Cooking this takes me on a journey every time, over the simmering process the house fills with the most extraordinary smell that intensifies toward the end.

Ingredients

There is a simple rule here and its all you need to remember, 1/3 pork mince and 2/3 beef mince. That’s it. So this recipe should suit about 4 people. And when you buy your mince please don’t get incredibly lean mince on both of them, choose one and get the cheaper lower quality mince with some fat, this is important. If you are nervous then get the pork mince with a bit of fat.To be honest this is a dish that is asking for cheap mince.

  • 300g of beef mince
  • 200g pork mince
  • A large jar of tomato pasata. (this is concentrated tomato sauce in a large bottle normally about 750ml)
  • One pack of good quality dried tagliatelle, or thick ribbon pasta
  • Good quality parmigiana (parmesan) cheese

Cooking

Cooking this dish requires a sort of trust that despite its simple appearance it will end up tasting fantastic. But if its your first time I will encourage you to try tasting it as it cooks so you can see what happens over time.

  • First of all in a heavy based casserole dish with a tight lid heat a generous amount of olive oil and begin to brown all of the mince. As you stir it with a wooden spoon break up the chunks. Continue to do this until all of the mince is brown.
  • Now pour in the entire bottle of sauce and stir it around, you might like to add in a little bit of water and when you do put the water into the pasata jar, put the lid back on and shake it to collect up all the leftover sauce in the jar. At this point the sauce should be very wet, lots of liquid going on in the pot.
  • Bring the lot to the boil then turn it right down low and simmer. Now when I say simmer i mean very gently bubbling intermittently. If your stove top wont achieve this level of heat I recommend a simmer mat from a good home wares store. If you don’t have a simmer mat then put the oven on 120 and slip the whole lot into the oven with the lid on.
  • And your done, leave the lid on, simmering on the stove or in the oven for about 4 hours. Check it hourly and give it a very gentle stir. I also encourage you to taste a little bit at each stir point and find out what happens. The sauce goes from plain jane to saucy sally over the simmer time.
  • When you are ready to do the pasta simply boil the tagliatelle according the packets instructions. Once its done drain it well, stir through a small amount of olive oil to stop it sticking and keep it warm.

Plating Up

  • At this point you will need to add a little salt and pepper to the sauce, stir it well and taste.
  • Put a good sized, heavy based frying pan on to medium high heat.
  • Slop a decent sized ladle full of the sauce into the pan and it should sizzle immediately. Stir it around to fry it quickly and then drop in a single serve of the pasta with tongs. You will not need oil in the pan there is plenty of it in the sauce already.
  • Toss together and then slide it all into a bowl or onto a plate. Repeat this process.
  • Top with grated parmigiana cheese and serve. I like to put a bowl of extra cheese on the table and let people add more if they like.

Any left over sauce can be frozen and I love to have it reheated on a big baked potato.

Wine Match

Red is definitely the go here, something acidic and low in tannin. I encourage you to take a chance, shop around and find a local or Italian Barbera. You can find a list of Australian growers here or you can order a few online. Take the time to try it, experimenting with wine is as important as experimenting with recipes.

Let me know what you think when you cook it, I will put money on you making it again and again.