May’s recipe from Head Chef James Harris

Dead Nettle Gnocchi and a fantastic quick Chilli and Tomato Sauce

Every month I will be giving you a recipe or two for you to enjoy at home, some of these are recipes adapted for domestic use and others will be the exact recipe I use in the kitchen. I am fully aware that some ingredients are tougher to get hold of than others, so I shall be using products available to me in my local supermarkets or products I have foraged in the hope that this mirrors availability to you. This month has started rather wet, so this is a recipe that will be fantastic alfresco, but also comforting on a chilly wet eve.

For the gnocchi you will need:

380 grams dry mash potato

75 grams parmesan

2 egg yolks

15 grams butter

125 grams pasta flour

Handful washed chopped dead nettle leaves

A couple of good pinches of salt

For the tomato and chilli sauce you will need:

1/2 red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 red chilli

1 sprig of thyme

1 tin chopped tomatoes

Now to the cooking:

The gnocchi calls for dry mash which is potatoes that have been cooked and passed through a ricer. I bake my potatoes for gnocchi, this reduces the amount of water in the flesh and leads to a more consistent final product. This normally takes between 60 and 90 minutes depending on the size of the spuds.

Once you have your dry mash, gently mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until it comes together, don’t work the mix too much as you don’t want the potatoes to go sticky or the gluten in the flour to start to activate.

Once your mix is ready, it will need to be rolled into sausages and cut into pieces, I roll mine to about the thickness of a finger and then cut them into 1 inch pieces

The next step is to blanch your pieces, in a simmering salted pan place 10 pieces in the pan and give it a swirl to stop them sticking. Once the pieces have risen to the surface for 5 to 10 seconds it is time to refresh them in iced water. Repeat until all your gnocchi is blanched.

Your gnocchi, once drained, is ready to store. I find tossing it in a little oil helps stop it sticking together. These can also be frozen, but be sure to fully defrost before colouring and eating.

Here is a link to this exact recipe on my YouTube chanel, the link is also in my Instagram bio (@chefjamesharris)

Now on to the tomato sauce

Finely chop your onion, garlic and chilli, chuck it into a medium hot pan to sweat down, no need to colour we just want to release those natural sugars and flavours, add a pinch of salt to bring the moisture out of the onions and help them to break down, add your thyme in now. If you like thyme add more, if you don’t leave it out. Once the onions are opaque add the tin of chopped tomatoes and cook out for 10 minutes. Season with salt and a pinch of sugar. Your quick tomato sauce is now ready to eat or freeze.

Personally I like to give my gnocchi a good colour in butter and oil before adding tomato sauce to them, but if you’re pressed for time or just don’t want to wash up, plonk them straight in the sauce and serve hot. Finish with some chopped basil and a few shavings of parmesan

I hope you enjoy, please tag me @chefjamesharris and the pub @packhorsebath with your wares or if you have any questions you can reach me on Instagram as well.

Thank you

Stay safe