Italian Sausage and Swiss Chard White Ragu Gnocchi 

All around the world, we all have one thing in common, food! Its incredible how food connects us with so many different cultures and world flavours. In early May I had the honour of attending an Italian dinner hosted by Luma Restaurant downtown Toronto as part of the Authentic Italian Table travelling food festival across North America. This is a partnership with The Italian Chambers of Commerce of O Ontario and True Italian Taste to bring people together for an educational and culinary experience of Italian cuisine. Chef Michael Wilson delivered exceptional dishes from his culinary journey in Italy using nothing but quality Italian ingredients and paired with some of Italy's finest wines. From his Salumi, Seared Yellowfin Tuna, Grilled Strip loin and one of my favourites, Saffron Gnocchi with a white Ragu, Sage, white wine and the most quality Parmigiano-reggiano. Each of Chef Michael's dishes had its own delicious uniqueness that inspired us all. Italian culture like most cultures, prides itself by using fresh farm to table ingredients, quality products and much love in the dishes they make. Our farmers and myself have the same pride when it comes to these values which inspired me to share my experience at Luma with Chef Michael with my farm family today. Our farm lunch featured our Organic Rainbow Swiss chard, Fresh Garlic Scapes, carrots, celery and onions to create this inspired Italian Sausage White Ragu Gnocchi. Thank you to The Italian Chambers, Luma and Chef Michael for a delicious and memorable Italian culinary experience.  

Buon appetito 🍷

Ingredients:

 

Ragu Sauce

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup garlic scales, roughly chopped or 2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup celery, finely chopped

1/4 cup carrots, finely chopped

1 1/2 lbs. Italian sausage meat

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 tsp. crushed red chilis

4 tbsp. creamy ricotta cheese

1 cup chicken stock 

2 cups swiss chard, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

Gnocchi

3 pounds baking potatoes, scrubbed and pierced all over with a fork

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten 

3/4 cup tips "00"  flour divided, plus more for dusting and as needed

Preparation: 

To make bolognese,

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, celery and carrots. Cook stirring occasionally for 6-7 minutes until the vegetables are soft and caramelized. Add the sausage meat and cook stirring occasionally until the meat is nearly cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until wine has evaporated, about 3 minutes.

Add the crushed chilis, ricotta and chicken stock to the meat and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the meat is very tender, about 1 hour. Stir in Swiss chard and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. 

 

To make gnocchi, Preheat oven to 450°F. Set potatoes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Bake until completely tender throughout when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes.

Transfer potatoes to a work surface. Using tongs to hold hot potatoes, slice each in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop potato flesh into a ricer or in a fine mesh sieve. Press potato flesh onto a clean work surface, spreading it into an even layer, and allow steam to escape for a few minutes.

Drizzle egg yolks all over. Scoop 1/2 cup flour into the fine mesh sieve and dust flour all over potatoes.

Using a scraper or large knife, chop down repeatedly all over to cut flour and egg into potato.

Using the scraper or large knife, gather up shaggy potato mass and pat into a loose ball. Press ball flat with hands, then fold in half using scraper and press down again.

Scoop remaining 1/4 cup flour into sieve and dust all over potato dough. Continue to gently fold and press, just until a uniform dough comes together. Making sure  not to knead like you would bread dough.

Dust potato dough all over with flour and gently form into a log.

Clean work area and dust with fresh flour. Cut off roughly 2-inch thick portion of dough and roll into a snake about 1/2 inch thick; use a light touch as you roll, trying to use your palms more than your fingers, and dusting as necessary with flour to prevent sticking.

Using a knife cut rope of dough into 1-inch portions, trimming off uneven ends.  Transfer gnocchi to a well-floured baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bring a large pot of very well-salted water to a boil. Using a slotted spatula, scoop them up and transfer gnocchi to boiling water. Stir once very gently with a slotted spoon to prevent sticking. When gnocchi begin to float to the surface, wait about 20 seconds, then taste one; it should be soft yet cooked through, without any raw-flour flavor.

Using slotted spoon, scoop gnocchi directly into a warm serving bowl. Top with bolognese sauce and grated parmigiano. 

 

SERVINGS 4 | PREP & COOK TIME 1.5 hours.

Copyright © 2016 Irene Matys.

All Rights Reserved.

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