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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Spicy Italian Sausage Ragu with Pan Fried Gnocchi...

Serves: 6
   3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
   1 1/2 can whole peeled tomatoes
   454g Italian sausage (fennel seedy if possible and slightly spicy)
   1 onion, diced
   3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
   1 large leek, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into thin half-moon slices
   2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
   4 sprigs fresh thyme
   1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
   1 tsp minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
   1/2 red capsicum, seeded, hut in half lengthwise and sliced.
   Kosher salt, to taste
   Freshly ground black pepper
   2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for cooking after making gnocchi)
   About 800g of floury potatoes (I used Maris Piper)
   2 large eggs
   100g WF/ GF plain flour
   Pinch nutmeg
   Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  1. Gnocchi-
    Preheat your oven to 200°C. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, and bake them on a baking sheet for 45 minutes to one hour, or until they are fork-tender. For best results, turn the potatoes over halfway through the baking time. Let the potatoes cool slightly.
  2. Peel the potatoes, and then pass them through a potato ricer, food mill or grate them over the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Add the lightly beaten egg and the salt to the potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the flour to the potatoes a little at a time, using only as much as you need so that the dough will not stick to your hands. When the flour has been incorporated, bring the dough together with your fingertips.
  4. Dump the dough and any remaining floury bits onto a slightly floured surface. Knead the dough as you would bread dough. Press down and away with the heel of your hand, fold the dough over, make a quarter turn, and repeat the process. Knead for about three or four minutes.
  5. Form the dough into a ball and then divide it into 6 smaller balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the six pieces using your fingertips into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces.
  6. You can cook the gnocchi as it is now, but traditional gnocchi has ridges. To create the ridges, press each piece of dough against the tines of a fork. With your finger, gently roll the pressed dough back off the fork. This takes a little practise. If you find the dough sticking to the fork, dip the fork in flour before you press the dough against it.
  7. Place the gnocchi in a single layer on a lightly floured or parchment-lined dish. If you’d like to freeze them for later use, do so on this tray and once they are frozen, drop them into a freezer bag. This ensures that you won’t have one enormous gnocchi mass when you are ready to cook them.
  8. If you're going to use the gnocchi within 2 to 3 hours, they can sit out on the counter.
  1.  Ragu-
    Put the tomatoes and their juices in a food processor and pulse 4 or 5 times until the tomatoes are crushed but not completely pureed.
  2. Tear the sausage apart with your hands into coarse pieces. Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, further breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned and almost completely cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to the pan and then add the onion, leek, parsley, thyme, oregano, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion and leek is soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Adjust the heat if there are any sign of burning.
  4. Add the tomatoes, reserved sausage and capsicum. Stir well to combine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan with the lid slightly ajar and simmer gently for 45 minutes. If the sauce is bubbling too fast, reduce the heat to low. Remove the lid and if the sauce seems watery, continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thick sauce consistency. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Gently drop batches of the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes, until the gnocchi float to the top of the pot. Transfer the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Continue until all of the gnocchi are cooked.
  6. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and gently pan-fry the gnocchi until golden brown. Drain the gnocchi briefly on paper towel; divide between bowls and top with the ragu and fresh parsley.

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