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Soft, thick, hearty dumplings traditionally eaten as first course in Italy as an alternative to soup, they can be found in many different variations and also in many different countries. Made from semolina, wheat, egg, cheese or potatoes, and equally as good homemade or bought from the supermarket, they don’t have to be confined to a starter size portion. As delicious as these dumplings are, they are also very, very filling. Whether you eat them as a starter or a sensible main, you will enjoy them.
As you must know by now I like to be that little bit different with your recipes. By combining interesting textures and flavours one might not obviously think of putting together on first thought. I paired my soft gnocchi with sweet and salty chorizo, smooth butternut squash and crunchy walnuts for layers of texture, colours and of course flavour. I hope you enjoy as much as it did!
Chicken, chorizo, walnut and butternut squash baked Gnocchi.
Overall preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes
What you will need:
500g fresh Gnocchi
500g chicken (diced)
200g chestnut mushrooms
150g chorizo (diced)
150g walnut pieces
300g butternut squash (cubed)
20g Parmesan cheese
150g soft goat’s cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 garlic clove
1tbs green Pesto
2 tsp butter
3 tbs plain flour
You’ll also need:
an ovenproof casserole dish;
a small saucepan;
a large saucepan;
a baking tray.
What you need to do:
1) Preheat the oven to 220c.
2) Chop and brown the onion and garlic in a little oil, when soft add the chicken and cook thoroughly.
3) When cooked all the way through and slightly brown, add in the butternut squash and chorizo, cook this all on a medium heat for about ten minutes or until the chorizo is caramelised and the butternut squash is soft.
4) Next, add in the mushroom to gently cook. Whilst this is cooking, you can make the sauce. Place the walnuts on a baking tray in the oven for 5 minutes or until browned, but make sure they don’t burn. Next, melt the butter in a small sauce pan adding the flour and whisking into a roux, off the heat. When combined, add the water and continue to whisk for around 5-10 minutes or until thick. When thick, add the pesto and Parmesan and remove from the heat completely.
5) Now that you have made the sauce and all the filling is cooking down nicely, you can add the Gnocchi to a saucepan of salted water. When the Gnocchi is cooked it will float to the top. When this happens drain immediately.
6) Now add the spinach to the filling and stir in to wilt. When the spinach has wilted turn off the heat and add everything together in the oven proof casserole dish. Don’t forget to add the walnuts and the egg. Mix to combine and flatten to create smooth, even top.
7) Top with breadcrumbs and slices of goat’s cheese. Place in the oven for around 10 minutes or until golden and oozing with cheesy goodness.
Remove from the oven and leave to stand for couple of minutes.
Now dig in!