As we head into spring, we are craving fresh greens having had our fill of the roots over the winter months – and yet, with a crisp start to the day and cool evenings still the daily theme, we still need an element of comfort in our diet. This dish ticks all of those boxes.
Gnocchi Verdi con Erbette
Nettle gnocchi with wild herbs
Wild nettle can be found amongst the hedgerows at this time of the year and is known for its vitamin-rich healing properties. It’s a little intimidating to handle (marigolds required) but if it’s too hard to source, this dish works well with spinach or young chard.
800g Potatoes (the waxier the better)
800g Young nettle leaves / or spinach or young chard
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
50g Grated parmesan (plus more to serve)
200g Plain flour (type 00)
4 tbsp Montecalvi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Each of chopped sage, basil, thyme, parsley, tarragon, oregano
White wine (use our Vermentino, we don’t mind!)
200ml Single cream
Having washed the potatoes, boil them for around 15 minutes in their skins in lightly salted water. Drain and when cool enough to handle, peel. Pass the potatoes through a ricer or mouli and place in a large bowl.
Wearing thick gloves, rinse the nettles a couple of times and then boil for just a couple of minutes in lightly salted water. Drain and allow to cool. Squeeze out excess water and then chop finely before mixing in to the potatoes. Add the egg and parmesan and adjust the seasoning to taste. Add enough flour to make an elastic dough with your hands.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. On a lightly floured surface, working quickly, break off pieces of dough and roll in to skinny sausage shapes of about 1cm diameter. Then cut these in to 2cm rectangles with a sharp knife. Set aside on a lightly floured tray.
Cook the gnocchi in batches for around 2-3 minutes until they bob to the top of the pan. Once cooked, spoon in to a serving dish with olive oil to keep them until you mix in the sauce.
The sauce comes together quickly. Begin with a very decent glug of Montecalvi Olive oil and add the chopped herbs, and turn for a minute or two until they flavour the oil. Add around half a glass of white wine, cook down for another minute and then add the cream. Heat through.
Combine the sauce and the gnocchi adding a little of the cooking water if needed.
Serve immediately with grated parmesan on the top as well as some coarsely ground black pepper and a final swirl of our olive oil.
This dish works superbly with our 2019 Chianti Classico