On her first time meeting me, and meeting Milan for that matter... I took them to this little lunch place near my office at the time - right in the city center (Turati).
September friday afternoons with massive amounts of sun are just another excuse for Italians to have super long lunch breaks with a good meal and glass of wine. And we all want to integrate into the culture as much as we can... don't we? So that day I suggested them to have Gnocchi Sorrentina: basically they are boiled potato balls with a creamy and gewy tomato sauce and cheeeeeeeese! And Cath loooooved it!
Hereby the recipe with a Chef's Steph's touch....
Ingredients - for 4 servings
- a pack of fresh gnocchi (500-700 gr)
- 750 ml tomato sugo with basil
- one shallot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 fresh peppers (red and yellow - whichever you prefer)
- 2 handfulls of fresh basil
- 125 gr mozzarella chopped up in little pieces
- 100 gr parmiggiano or pecorino
- salt and pepper to taste
How to make it:
First you have to grill the peppers - by placing them in the oven, grilling them until their skin burns off. This usually takes up to 30 mins, depending on your oven. Once they're done, take them out and wait for them to cool, as peeling them while still hot is a guarantee for burned fingers! Peel them and chop them up in cubes.
While the peppers are cooling down bring water to a boil with a fist of salt.
Heat up the oil in a pan and add the cut up shallot. Simmer for a minute until the shallot smells nicely.
Add the peppers and stir for a minute - after which you add the sugo, salt and pepper.
Once the water is boiling, put in the gnocchi. Cooking them, takes literally a couple of minutes. They are ready when they come floating up in the water. Immediately take them out of the water because overcooked gnocchi are not good at all! They become all mushy, instead you want them soft but with a firm bite.
At this point you add the mozzarella and parmiggiano to the sauce and stir until it melts in the sauce.
Last but not least - add the fresh basil.
Mix the gnocchi with the sauce and serve garnished with a leaf of basil.
Outcome: Italy's colours at it's best!!!