Lawrence Murphy: Gnocchi, gnocchi. Who’s there? A wise chef who uses sage

Burgeoning sage
Burgeoning sage
Peter Beech, Jennifer Beech, Philip Talbot and Ian Withall 
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When the sun is out and we have clear blue skies, I often find myself standing in front of my barbecue – usually with a glass in one hand and tongs in the other.

Last week was no exception and after taking the dogs for a stroll in Stansted woods I lit the charcoal on which to cook our dinner. Lamb kofta, aubergine and asparagus were put in the smoke box, giving me time to check on the herbs in the garden.

Gnocchi Tunworth and sage

Gnocchi Tunworth and sage

Julia is the green-fingered one in our house and this year she has potted thyme, chervil, chives and sage along with gherkins which I’m looking forward to pickling.

The sage has come on really well with its pungent leaves over-brimming its pot. Most people associate sage with stuffing for roast chicken, but it’s great with liver or a few leaves in focaccia with garlic. I like to add some chopped into a white wine sauce drizzled over potato gnocchi topped with Hampshire’s Tunworth cheese for a fantastic vegetarian starter. So this week it’s potato gnocchi as home-made is so much better than the product I have seen in super markets.

Potato gnocchi with sage and Tunworth cheese

Ingredients

350g potato

75g pasta flour

1 egg yolk

Sea salt

1 onion finely chopped

Knob of butter

100ml white wine

Teaspoon white wine vinegar

250ml double cream

8 sage leaves

1 Tunworth cheese

Method

1. Boil potatoes in salted water until just cooked.

2. Put them through a ricer while still hot.

3. Mix in the salt, flour and egg yolk while the potatoes are warm.

4. Mix together until a soft to firm dough is formed (more flour might be needed).

5. Roll into a long sausage and cut into 1cm pieces.

6. You can leave the gnocchi like this in small pillows or roll them on a fork to give ridges.

7. Lay on greaseproof paper dusted with semolina .

8. Heat a saucepan and add the butter and the onion and cook for two minutes without colouring.

9. Add the white wine and vinegar and reduce by half.

10. Add the cream and cook for three minutes before adding the chopped sage. Taste and season.

11. Cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling water. They will float to the surface when they are cooked.

12. Lift them out with a slotted spoon into the sauce.

13. Portion into bowls and add a slice of Tunsworth cheese before serving. I torch the cheese before serving.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (fatolives.co.uk): 01243 377914.