Herb gnocchi with baby vegetables

Theres a lightness to Michael Cainess dish, with fresh spring herbs and first-of-the-season baby vegetables
By Michael Caines
Herb gnocchi with baby vegetables
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the vegetable stock

  • 1 onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1 large carrot
  • ½ heads celery
  • 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled, lightly crushed
  • 2 star anise
  • pinches ground white pepper
  • 300 ml white wine
  • 1 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprigs tarragon
  • 2 sprigs chervil
  • 1 sprigs coriander
  • 1 bay leaf

For the herb gnocchi

  • 250 g floury potatoes, such as Binjte, peeled and chopped
  • 50 g onions, finely chopped
  • 30 g freshly grated parmesan
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 10 g mixed chopped herbs, such as tarragon, basil, chives and chervil
  • 20 g unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp butter

For the baby vegetables

  • 8 baby or chantenay carrots
  • 8 baby turnips
  • 1 sprigs tarragon
  • 4 baby leeks
  • 1 tbsp butter, plus extra for the spinach
  • 1 handfuls tarragon, basil, chives and chervil, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 100 g baby spinach

Tips and Suggestions

Cooks note: Michael Caines says its totally worth making your own vegetable stock as its far better than any he's bought.

The stock is best made the day before. Simply leave the vegetables in the liquid to allow the flavours to blend and then strain when ready to use.

Method

1. For the vegetable stock: chop the onion, leek, carrots and celery into 1cm dice. Place the chopped vegetables into a large pan along with the garlic, star anise, ground pepper and bay leaf and add enough cold water to cover.

2, Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the white wine to the pan and bring back to the boil. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat, stir in the herbs and set aside to cool. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the flavour, then discard the solids. (This will make more stock than needed for the gnocchi, so save the rest for another recipe.)

3. For the gnocchi: cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 10-12 minutes, or until tender. Drain, then pass through a potato ricer into a bowl and set aside to cool.

4. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small pan until foaming, then add the onion and gently cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Set aside to cool.

5. Add the cooked onions to the potatoes, then add the grated parmesan, flour, chopped herbs and egg yolks and mix until well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper (taste the mixture by cooking a small piece in boiling salted water first).

6. Turn the potato dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out into thick logs. Cut into small pieces and shape into little pillow shapes. Place the gnocchi onto a tray lined with parchment paper until ready to cook.

7. For the baby vegetables: bring a medium pan of water to the boil with the tarragon, then add the carrots and turnips and blanch for a 2-3 minutes, or until just tender. In another pan, blanch the leeks for 1-2 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the vegetables and set aside.

8. Measure out 100ml of vegetable stock and pour into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, whisk in the butter until melted. Add the blanched vegetables and warm through then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the chopped herbs to the sauce just before serving.

9. Cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes, or until tender (the gnocchi are cooked when they float to the surface). Drain.

10. Heat the butter in a large non-stick pan until foaming, then add the gnocchi and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown all over. Remove from the heat.

12. In a separate pan, heat a small knob of butter and add the spinach. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Spoon the spinach into the bottom of four serving bowls.

13. To serve, spoon the baby vegetables over the spinach, then the gnocchi and finally pour over the butter and herb sauce.

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