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Potato Gnocchi With Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 4
PREP 30mins
COOK 25mins
 

1kg desiree potatoes
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 basil sprigs, plus extra small leaves, to serve
1/3 cup (80ml) red wine vinegar
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, diced
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour
2/3 cup (50g) grated parmesan

 

Tip- The secret to great gnocchi is not overworking the dough. Press the flour into the potato by folding and pressing again. This way it won’t end up a gluey lump.

 

1 Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 20 mins, until tender.

2 Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan on medium. Cook onion for 3-5 mins, until soft but not coloured. Add garlic and basil sprigs and cook for 30 secs, until fragrant. Add vinegar, sugar and tomato paste. Simmer for 5 mins, until thickened slightly. Add diced tomato and remaining oil and cook for 5 mins, until thickened slightly. Add cherry tomato and simmer for 3 mins, until just soft.

3 Drain potato. When cool enough to handle, peel. While still hot, mash or put through a ricer. Season with salt. Add egg and stir until smooth. Sprinkle half of flour onto bench and top with potato. Flatten potato to a 4cm thickness and sprinkle over remaining flour. Press mixture down with your fingers then fold it over. Repeat process until all flour is incorporated. Gather gnocchi mixture together. Press down with your finger, it should spring back or have a touch of resistance.

4 Divide gnocchi dough into four. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into long sausage shape. Cut into little pillow shapes.

5 Drop gnocchi into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for 1-2 mins, until gnocchi rise to surface. Drain and refresh under cold water. 6 Reheat sauce on medium heat. Add gnocchi and toss gently to combine. Top with parmesan and extra basil leaves. Serve.

Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs

Serves 4
PREP 25mins
COOK 20mins

 

1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled, finely grated
600g chicken mince
1 1/2 cups (110g) fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup (125ml) good quality chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp oregano
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
350g spaghetti
1/2 cup (40g) shaved pecorino

 



1
  Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large saucepan on medium. Cook carrot, stirring, for 1 min, until coated in oil. Add 1/3 cup water. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 mins, until soft. Cool, then place in a food processor and process until smooth.

2 Place mince breadcrumbs, parsley and 1/3 cup of carrot puree in a large bowl. Season. Using clean hands, mix well until combined. Using clean, wet hands to prevent mixture sticking, shape into 20 small meatballs. Chill for 5 mins.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a deep frying pan medium. Cook onion for 5 mins, until soft. Add garlic. Cook for 1 min, until fragrant. Add tomato, stock, paste, oregano, bay leaves and thyme. Season. Bring to boil. Simmer for 5 mins, until sauce thickens slightly.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large frying pan on medium. Cook meatballs, turning, for 5-8 mins, until golden. Transfer to tomato sauce and simmer for 5 mins, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to packet directions. Drain. Add to meatballs, reduce heat to low and cook, tossing, for 2-3 mins, until combined. Serve with pecorino. Alternatively, serve meatballs with spaghetti and pecorino alongside.

 

Gary's secrets

 •  I like to drain the pasta, then drop it into the simmering sauce and stir to coat the pasta. I often add a dash of olive oil and fresh herbs, too.

 •  I love to eat pasta when tossed in the sauce because it makes the most of rich flavours and, in a cheeky way, it also gives you a moment to wash up the pasta pot and calm yourself for a minute while the family gathers around the table to eat.

Prawn cannelloni with fennel, dill & olives

Serves 4
PREP 35mins
COOK 30mins

 

1.2kg green prawns, peeled, deveined
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 eggwhites, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 cup (250ml) thickened cream
finely grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 fennel bulb, plus 2 tbsp snipped baby fronds
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 star anise
1/2 cup (90g) ligurian olives
1 quantity Pasta Dough, rolled out to second-last machine notch
2 tsp chopped dill

 


1
  Place 400g of prawns, a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Process until a paste forms. Add eggwhites and process until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of cream and pulse to combine. Add remaining cream and pulse to incorporate. Transfer prawn mousse to a bowl and stir through lemon rind. Place in refrigerator for 30 mins, until firm.

2 Meanwhile, trim and finely dice fennel. Place in a small saucepan on low heat. Add half of snipped fronds, oil, star anise and a pinch of salt. Cook for 15 mins, until tender. Remove from heat and stir through olives. Add lemon juice and season to taste. Set aside.

Cut out twelve 8cm x 12cm rectangles from pasta sheets. Cover with a damp tea towel. Cook pasta sheets one at a time in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 30-40 secs, until al dente. Carefully remove from boiling water and transfer to a bowl of iced water. Drain on paper towel and pat dry.

Cut out twelve 16cm x 24cm pieces of plastic wrap. Place a pasta sheet in centre of a piece of plastic wrap. Spoon prawn mousse into a piping bag and pipe a 3cm-wide line along short edge of pasta sheet. Brush opposite edge with egg yolk and roll up pasta to enclose mousse. Press edge lightly to seal. Roll up plastic wrap to enclose cannelloni. Twist ends to seal, then roll back and forth on benchtop to make a smooth cylinder (dab a little water on bench to prevent it sticking). Knot twisted ends of plastic wrap to secure. Repeat with remaining pasta, prawn mousse and plastic wrap.

Return saucepan of salted water to boil on high heat. Add cannelloni, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 mins, until just firm. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove cannelloni from pan and drain well. Use kitchen scissors to snip off ends of plastic wrap, then carefully run scissors along length of cannelloni to remove plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, slice off ends to neaten.

Meanwhile, finely slice remaining prawns. Reheat fennel mixture on medium. Add prawn and cook for 1 min, until opaque. Add remaining fennel fronds and dill. Stir to combine.

 7 Divide cannelloni between serving plates. Spoon over fennel mixture and serve.

 

Gary's secrets

  • Although I love fresh pasta, such as cannelloni, capelletti and ravioli, I’m not a pasta snob – I’m also a big fan of dried pasta. The main differences between the two are that dried pasta takes longer to cook (about 12 minutes rather than 2-3 minutes) and it has a firmer, slightly chewy texture. Because of the texture, I particularly like dried spaghettini, orecchiette and strozzapreti. 

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