Archive for the ‘Italian food’ Category

Bruschetta.jpgJ. and I attempt, but don’t always succeed, to have a date night once a week. We usually head out to a nice restaurant or a movie but last week we were beat and just wanted to stay home. I had baked some wonderful crusty Italian style bread earlier in the day and we had found some beautiful tomatoes at the farmers market… Bruschetta was the answer.

I decided to make 2 different versions and after a quick trip to Wholefoods for some delicious meat we were set to go. I didn’t just want to make an ordinary tomato combination for the top. It was date night after all, I wanted something a little different and unusual. I went with garlic roasted tomatoes on Tomato and basilsoppressata or prosciutto with jalapeno lime white balsamic vinegar to finish it off.

First off I put the tomatoes into the oven to roast. I only wanted them cooked for a very short time with some garlic and olive oil to really bring out the sweetness in these gorgeous tomatoes we found. I wanted them to hold their shape and keep the firm texture, not go all mushy.

ProscuittoWhile the tomatoes were in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes, I sliced some chunky bits of our Italian crusty bread and smeared them will olive oil. I heated up our grill pan and toasted these on both sides. I tried to get nice crusty grill marks on the bread. I did ok for the most part but there were some slightly crispier parts.Soppressata

Once these were grilled I just rubbed them with some garlic and set them aside to dress. I did a few of each meat for J. and I. Layer 1 being either soppressata or prosciutto. To be honest a few slices of each magically disappeared between the two of us… I love that stuff!

Basil leavesAfter the first layer of meaty goodness I added some fresh basil leaves. We had also picked the basil up at the market since our basil plant hasn’t survived it’s first (and only) Arizonan summer. By this stage the tomatoes were out and cooling down.

I cut the tomatoes in half and put them in a bowl, seasoned them with plenty of salt and pepper and then generously drizzled jalapeno lime white balsamic vinegar over them. I mixed them together and placed them on each piece of bread.

After pouring some wine J. and I sat down to a yummy, simple dinner. I had some goats cheese on the side as well for us to eat with the bruschetta. The creamy rich flavor worked so well with the freshness of the bruschetta. J enjoyed it so much we actually had something similar for dinner the next night. The tomatoes were extremely sweet and juicy. I was happy with how crusty and delicious the bread was as well. Such an easy, quick date night dinner. A good way of keeping my boy J. happy too!


Tortino Pasta.jpgMy final night in Washington DC, I took a gamble and went to Founding Farmers, hoping that being by myself I could get a seat. Unfortunately the gamble didn’t pay off. They were booked out and there was also a line out the door. Never mind, I had a back up.

On my walks around the neighborhood near my hotel I had spotted a small, Italian trattoria that intrigued me. Tucked into the basement of a brownstone, in amongst residences, Tortino just looked like the perfect neighborhood restaurant. Inviting, small and fingers crossed, delicious!

I took a seat at the bar to eat and also because it was still happy hour, I ordered myself a bellini (prosecco with peach puree). The bellini was delicious and I had to make sure I didn’t drink in a few seconds.

I chatted with the bartender about football (NFL… GO BEARS!) for a while and then asked him to recommend a pasta dish Bellini.jpgfor me. After making sure I liked seafood he suggested the pasta special. Handmade spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, mussels, and broccoli in a garlic butter sauce! I went with his recommendation!

While waiting for my food to arrive I sipped on a second bellini – I couldn’t help it, they were just too delicious!

My pasta arrived! A large bowl filled with spaghetti and a surprisingly huge amount of mussels. The pasta was good, al dente, just how I like it and how it should be. The mussels were perfectly cooked and smothered in the garlic butter sauce. The crusty bread was great dipped in the sauce. And even though I am not a big broccoli fan, I ate every bite.

This was a lovely, intimate little restaurant – it would be perfect for a date night. The food was good Italian comfort food and they had lovely, friendly staff who chatted to me and kept me company at the bar. Oh, and the bellinis were yummy.

I was happy with my random choice, even though it wasn’t Founding Farmers. I will go back to this restaurant next time I am in DC and will also hopefully make it into Founding Farmers too!

Mushrooms and Polenta.jpgThis was a ridiculous thing to cook in the middle of summer in Arizona. With the sun beating down and the temperature rising to over 115 degrees, I decided I wanted to try making Wild Mushrooms with Cheesy Polenta. A nice light, easy meal to eat in the overwhelming heat!

J. and I shopped up a storm at Wholefoods and Lee Lee’s Asian Market to get as many different varieties of mushrooms we could find. We went a little crazy getting shitake, portobello, oyster, button, and enoki mushrooms. I knew that this was going to be delicious.

Once home from our mushroom adventure I started by cleaning all the mushrooms. J. finely diced some garlic (about 3 cloves) and 2 large shallots. We then both worked on slicing mushrooms. This took us a long time since we had gone crazy with the mushroom purchasing but we eventually made it through.

In an extremely large pan (you could use a wok – we used a deep skillet) I added 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brought it to a high heat. Once the pan was hot I added the dices garlic and shallots, slightly caramelizing these before adding the mushrooms (largest first and then adding more as they started to cook). I also added in some fresh thyme and oregano at this stage to boost up that flavor some more.

Once the mushrooms had started to cook down I added 1/4 cup of white wine and 1/4 cup of veggie stock. I let this cook until it had started to thicken, seasoning it at that stage with salt and pepper. The final stage of the mushrooms was to add 1 tablespoon of butter to finish it all off. Delicious.

While we were working on the mushrooms I had cooked the polenta just as the box told me to do. To the cooked polenta I added 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese that had been grated. You can add butter and cheese to your liking… we made it very cheesy. Then I just seasoned the polenta again and we were ready to eat.

This was a hearty, rich, creamy dinner. We both absolutely loved it. The mushrooms were really well cooked, full of flavor with that delicious mushroom wine broth. The polenta was so cheesy, it was probably clogging arteries but I could have eaten a bowl just of polenta.

We made far too much and ate far to many bowls of it. It really is the perfect winter dinner when you want something without meat but still filling and delicious. We will definitely make it again but wait until the endless heat of the Arizonan summer disappears and we can stop eating salads.

Mango Coconut Panna Cotta.jpgJ. and I like to make bets with each other at different times. Whether it is on the AFL, NFL, the Olympics or who was in a particular movie, it makes for some fun teasing and competitiveness between the two of us which we both enjoy.

Most often the bets will involve payouts of dinners out or dinners made or chores done… I hate to say that I am often on the loosing end of these bets. For example last summer I lost a number in a row and ended up having to change the cats litter box for 2 months straight… not fun.


J. won a bet again recently that let him decide on a 3 course, homemade dinner and then chose this past weekend to redeem it! The meal he chose was scallops, followed by roast lamb and potato gratin and then panna cotta for dessert. He really didn’t have any preference for how I cooked the scallops or what flavor panna cotta I made, so I got to play a little.

First I chopped up 2 ripe mangoes and puréed them in the blender. The mixture should become Mango.jpgrelatively smooth. I then set this aside. I added 500ml of thickened cream (whipping cream) and 500ml of coconut cream to a saucepan. This went onto medium heat and I added 1/3 cup of caster sugar to this mixture. I kept stirring this until it was completely heated through, (around 3 minutes) and the sugar had melted.For dessert I decided on a Mango Coconut Panna Cotta… nice and light and very summery. The great thing about panna cotta is that I can make it early on in the day and it just sits in the fridge ready to go for dinner. First thing Saturday morning I got to work.

Cream mixture.jpg

In a small bowl I put 2 tablespoons of boiling water and 1 tablespoon of gelatin powder and stirred this until the gelatin had melted. Setting this aside I went back to the cream mixture.

I added the puréed mango to the cream mixture, mixing until it was completely combined. I put this into a jug (passing it through a sieve to make sure I got out any chunky bits of mango). Finally, I added the gelatin mixture to the jug, stirring quickly until it was completely mixed in.

Ready for pouring.jpg

That’s everything done! It was easy. I just then poured the mixture evenly into 6 ramekins and placed them in the fridge. They took around 5 hours to set but they were in there a lot longer just to make sure.

I removed them from the fridge about 20 minutes before we were going to eat them just to soften them a little. I topped each with some slices of fresh white peaches and grated dark chocolate.

Panna Cotta.jpg

They were delicious! J. really enjoyed it – he love both mango and coconut. I was happy with how they turned out. Perfect consistency and texture and then they tasted pretty amazing as well. A perfect summer dessert…

Freshpasta.jpgI have a pretty great life and lifestyle. I am incredibly fortunate and really don’t have many things to complain about. But every now and then I am going to have a bad day, whether it be due to stress at work, homesickness or just general annoyances. I am going to get stressed, angry, sad, tired and I have the cheapest and most effective form of therapy to get me through those bad days…. PASTA MAKING!

The process is so familiar, repetitive and calming that by the end when I am more than likely sitting down to a giant bowl of delicious fresh pasta I am back to my regular happy self.

The recipe we use for the pasta is one that my mother gave me and it is slightly ridiculous. Promise not to laugh!! The measurements are very much open to interpretation. Going by feel is the best way to make sure it is just right…. This can take a little practice.

Well and eggs.jpg

Onto the kitchen counter measure out 1 pound (450 grams) of plain flour. Make a large well in the middle of the flour so that you can see your counter top. Add into the well 5 eggs (3 medium, 2 large). To this add 1 capful of olive oil (what size cap you ask? What cap? – these are all very good questions!) and ½ an eggshell of water. (which eggshell – the large or the medium? Another excellent question!)

I will answer these questions, as best I can, shortly.

With all the ingredients in the well, using a fork I gently start drawing the flour from the edges of the well into the center. This slowly starts to form the dough. The tricky part is not to break the well walls and end up with runny egg and flour all over your kitchen floor (Yes, I have done this before!).

Once it has started to form a ball I coat my hands in flour and doing the final mixing by hand. The trick is not to over mix/knead the dough and end up with tough pasta. Just mix until it is completely incorporated and is one solid ball. Then just wrap and set it aside for 30 minutes to rest.

While the dough is resting let me answer the questions from earlier. I generally use the cap of my olive oil bottle which is around 1 tablespoon of oil. You can always add a smaller amount and add more later if the dough is too dry. As for the eggshell full of water, I usually just use the most complete looking shell, it probably close to 1 tablespoon of water but again, use an eggshell and just add a little more if it is too dry. I both of these circumstances it is best to use smaller amounts and have to add more than add too much right at the start!

Dough.jpgThe dough has rested, now it is time to roll it out. I cut the ball into six pieces to make them more manageable. My parents recently bought us a new pasta maker since our previous one just randomly started chewing up the dough, when this was happening it wasn’t the most calming exercise. (I think it got bent being transported from Australia to Phoenix when we moved!).

However, with our new pasta maker things are going smoothly again. We run the each piece through the machine from the widest setting to the second last. I don’t want it too thin for making fettuccine, when I make ravioli or agnolotti it go for the thinnest setting. Once rolled through I set it aside to dry a little while I run the other pieces through.

Once I have my long pieces I run them quickly through the fettuccine attachment and twist them into little nests to dry. We usually will store at least ½ of the pasta in a cool dry place to use later but will always whip up a quick meal with some while it is still really fresh. By the time we are ready to cook I am feeling a lot better, covered in flour and with a mess of a kitchen to clean up but I am definitely happier!

We were lucky enough earlier in the summer to have some delicious cherry tomatoes growing in our garden. So while the pasta was cooking in some boiling water I cooked about 20 tomatoes in some olive oil and garlic, added some fresh basil and thyme (which at the start of summer I had growing in the garden). I only cooked them for a couple of minutes before adding the cooked pasta to the pan and mixing everything together. YUM!

So easy and delicious with the fresh pasta, plus you actually get to appreciate all the hard work the pasta was because you can really taste it with such a simple accompaniment. After a bowl of this I am definitely feeling better and though it probably takes about an hour from start to finish it’s a delicious and productive way of making me feel better!

Since I am busy having fun and celebrating the New Year in Australia I thought I would just post about posts. These are our Top Ten Recipe Posts and Top Ten Restaurant Posts as voted by you!

Just some light reading as you nurse your New Year’s hangovers.

Thanks for the support in 2012 and I look forward to much more deliciousness in 2013!

Top Ten Recipes

1. I’m No Liar! The Best Chocolate Cake Ever…

2. My First Halloween

3. Wingin’ It!

4. The Best Kind of Recipe – Secret Family Recipe

5. How to Impress Your 1/2 Italian Girlfriend

6. A Soup to Chase Away Your Worries

7. Melt in Your Mouth Christmas Shortbread

8. Thanksgiving Eve Dinner

9. Potato Gratin with a Twist

10. Lasagne – the Best of the Best

Top 10 Restaurants

1. Magic & Fairytales

2. Christmas Drinks with New Friends

3. Hot ‘n’ Juicy in Vegas

4. Delicious American Oddity

5. Food Truck Friday

6. Lobster Drunk

7. Searching for “The One” True Taco – J’s First Blog

8. Triple S…Sushi, Sashimi, Sapporo

9. Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara – Best Sandwich Ever

10. The Dog of All Dogs!

Lasange.jpgThis is part 2 of my Best Kind of Recipes… the first I shared yesterday. Today’s blog is about the delicious lasagne you can make with that yummy Bolognese sauce I wrote about yesterday.

I love this lasagne and it is so often my go to when I have people over for dinner. Everyone enjoys it and it makes such a large amount it is perfect for dinner parties. I have shared this recipe with so many people and now I am sharing it with you.

After you have made your meat sauce, as per yesterday’s blog. The next step is to make the cheese sauce.

In a pot slowly heat 2 1/2 cups of milk. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the milk and let it melt as the milk heats. Milk & Butter.jpgSlowly bring the milk to a boil, while this is happening mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch with cold water until is a runny paste.

Once the milk has started to boil, pour in the corn starch mixture and stir until the milk has thickened. When it is thick remove from the heat immediately. Here I add lots of cheese, usually around 2 cups. You can add any kind you like but this time around I added a mix of sharp cheddar, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. This makes it very cheesy and full of flavor.

Cheese & pepper.jpgAt this stage I also add lots of freshly ground black pepper. I mix all this through until the cheese has melted and set it aside.

People prepare the lasagne noodles in lots of different ways. I seldom pre-cook mine in boiling water because it is just another step in a long process and I also don’t find that my noodles come out too tough. Since I wasn’t precooking my noodles, I was ready to assemble my lasagne.Meat layer.jpg

In a large oven proof pan, I use a big Pyrex dish and I put down a layer of the meat sauce. My first layer is about ½ an inch thick and completely covers the bottom of the dish. Next is a layer of noodles. I overlap them slightly and make sure I break pieces to fit and cover the meat. I then pour 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the noodles, spreading it out so it covers evenly and seeps down Pasta layer.jpgthe edges. This is 1 layer done.

In my pan I repeat this process 3 times, if your pan isn’t as deep twice is certainly enough. The meat layers the 2nd and 3rd times don’t have to be as thick and I don’t usually worry about having the entire thing covered… a few gaps doesn’t hurt.

When I had completed the final layer of cheese sauce I usually scrap out the Cheese sauce layer.jpglast of the meat sauce and sprinkle it over the top. A few pieces here and there that when cooked will get nice and crunchy. On top of this I then sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Though you can use any cheese you have handy and it will be fine.

That’s it! I then put it in the oven for 40 minutes at 400F degrees. This is when the smell permeates the entire house and I feel like I am home with Mum and Dad! It smells unbelievably but tastes even better!

Top layers.jpgWhen it comes out of the oven I usually let it sit for about 20 minutes to settle. It is usually too hot to eat right away. Often it is even better the following day when it has really settled. I serve it with a fresh salad and some garlic bread on the side and we are in heaven.

Make this for your friends, your family or even just for yourself. It freezes really well, we have a whole lasagne in our fridge now for when we get back from vacation. Get creative, add in some dollops of ricotta cheese after each cheese layer, it is delicious too! Let me know if you give it a try because I promise it won’t disappoint.

P.S. Ladies, make this for the man in your life because I am pretty sure J. stays with me for my lasagne!

Ma's Bolognese Sauce.jpgOur family loves food. Every major event and significant occasion has been marked with food and accompanied with wine. From a young age I can remember my mum in the kitchen cooking. Coming home from school to freshly made snacks, dinners of lasagne, spaghetti and other delicious goodies.

Even now, 17 years after I last lived at home with Mum and Dad my favorite recipes are those that Mum made when I was little. These are the recipes I know by heart, even though they can be found in my tattered and stained recipe book, handwritten by mum, for when I first moved out of home. I love the smell of the house when I have made one of these recipes but particularly her bolognese/lasagne meat sauce. My new home starts to smell like my childhood home.

Garlic & Onion.jpg

There aren’t many things about my life that you would call traditional but when it comes to bolognese sauce I am a traditionalist. I have only ever made tiny alterations to my mum’s recipe,while my brothers have changed it completely to suit their tastes. My reasoning… why mess with perfection.

I am going to make this a two part blog entry. This one, Part 1 will focus on the delicious meat sauce that you can use for bolognese and lasagne. Later in the week I will do a lasagne entry, showing how I use this sauce for lasagne.


I shared this recipe with J. a long time ago when we were living on opposite sides of the world. He made it for lasagne and loved it, until I made it for him. His was good, mine was great, my Mum’s… well it’s perfection!

Ok, so in a large pot heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When it is hot throw in one finely chopped white onion and 3 garlic cloves, crushed. I also add in my herbs at this point, if I have them I use fresh but dried herbs work just fine too. Into the pot goes 1/2 tablespoon of oregano, basil and rosemary, as well as salt and pepper to taste.


I usually let the onion and garlic soften for up to 5 minutes before adding in 4 strips of bacon chopped roughly. Is there a better smell in the world than bacon, garlic and onion in olive oil!! Sooo drool inducing.

When the bacon starts to brown I add in 600 grams of ground beef. Now, you can use a mix of meats which I have done before. I have combined pork and beef before and also had veal as well. Traditionally I just use beef.


I stir the beef regularly making sure it is all browning. When you can’t see anymore pink I add in the crushed tomatoes. You need to just add 1 300 gram tin of crushed or diced tomatoes. Occasionally, I will add fresh tomatoes. I did this time, just putting 3 large tomatoes into boiling water (with the bottoms scored) for a few minutes. Then I just peeled and chopped and added them to the beef, seeds and all.


In a small bowl I mix together 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1/2 cup of chicken stock and a splash of red wine. I make sure the tomatoes and beef are completely mixed together before gently pouring the tomato paste mixture over the top. I mix all of this through carefully and bring the pot to a boil. Once it is bubbling I reduce the heat to a simmer and push 2 bay leaves below the surface of the sauce. Then I just let it sit and simmer for 3 hours, sometimes longer. Yesterday I let is simmer for nearly 5 hours. The liquid will reduce and it becomes nice and thick. If you need to add more liquid put in some more tomato paste and chicken stock or even a splash more wine.


Some alterations I make to this… well the wine is something I usually add in if Ihave a good red wine in the house. If it is just J. and I eating I will sometimes add some chillies to the garlic and onion mix. Other than that I stick with Mum’s recipe.

This is such a yummy bolognese sauce. It has a deep, rich flavor that works really well in lasagne but just as well with some linguine noodles. I actually froze a bunch of this for J. and I when we return from our Australian vacation, Tomato sauce.jpgso it is a great one to make big quantities of. I also like the left over spaghetti bolognese on a grilled sandwich the next day… yum!

I am lucky that my Mum instilled in me a love of cooking… now every major event in mine and J’s lives revolves around food… and for me anyway, wine. This is now one our recipes that we make to share with friends and family here.

Recipes that I am proud to pass on to friends, family and strangers that my mum gave to me, really are the best kind of recipe! I guess it is really a not so secret family recipe.

J’s Second Contribution… and his relationship advice!

Fellas… let me tell you about one of the greatest pasta dishes you need to memorize. Keep it as an ace in the hole, or use it as a pulled rabbit from the hat when you need to impress your lady. It’s so versatile that you can even use it to say sorry, make up for not putting the toilet seat down, or to barter out of doing the laundry for a while. Pasta Carbonara has to be one of the easiest but most delicious pasta dishes out there… the ultimate comfort food.

You’ll need:

-1lb of spaghetti (I used the whole wheat kind)

-1 cup of grated parmesan

-several cloves of garlic, chopped

-2 eggs

-several strips of pancetta (I live in AZ, so that’s not exactly readily available as I have no idea where the nearest Italian grocery/deli is, so bacon is completely acceptable)

-olive oil

-ground black pepper

-chopped parsley for garnish

Render down the pancetta (or bacon) in a pan with olive oil. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta, making sure to salt the water as it begins to form a running boil. As the pancetta/bacon begins to crisp up, add the chopped garlic cloves (I use about 4) watching it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Cook the pasta al dente since you’ll be finishing it in the same pan the garlic and pancetta/bacon are in. In a small bowl, mix together two eggs and a cup of parmesan and make sure there aren’t any lumps. Add some pasta water (very little by little since you don’t want scrambled eggs) to get the egg/cheese mixture to the consistency you like. I like mine to be about the same consistency as rice porridge.

Drain the pasta thoroughly and add it back to the pan with the pancetta/bacon and garlic, mixing together thoroughly to make sure the rendered fat and olive oil cover the pasta completely. Remove from the heat and mix in the egg/cheese mixture, tossing the pasta for an even coating. Be sure to add plenty of fresh cracked black pepper along with some dried parsley for garnish.

C. made some amazing garlic bread to go with this which went great to balance things out along with a glass of red wine. I unfortunately don’t drink rotten grape juice so I stuck with iced tea. There were a few servings left over for lunch at the office which were consumed with much satisfaction.

So fellas… the next time you need something pulled out of thin air to save your hides, whip this up in the kitchen and you can thank me later. Trust me with this, C. is half Italian and is as fussy about Italian food as I am about Korean and she loved this so much I haven’t had to do laundry for weeks.

I had the day off on Monday and decided I would make something for J. that I had always been too lazy to make. Gnocchi is such a labor intensive project to take on and I thought I should make it before I was back at work full-time otherwise I would never make it. The entire meal took me a good part of the day but I think it was worth it.

I started with the gnocchi first because I like it to sit for a few hours before cooking. In a large pot I put 5 extra large potatoes (skin still on and whole) and boiled them until they were tender when prodded with a fork. While they were cooking in a really big bowl I mixed 2.5 cups of flours, 1 tablespoon of salt, about a teaspoon of pepper (I only had black but if you have white pepper it makes the gnocchi look better), 2 eggs and 1 cup of ricotta cheese. This doesn’t have to be combined completely, just a rough mix for now as you will add the potato mixture to this.

Once the potatoes have cooked I take them out and let them cool just enough so I can touch them. I use my hands to peel off the skin (if they are cooked correctly they should peel off very easily). If you have a ricer I would recommend using it in the next step but since I didn’t I had to use the old masher… In a bowl I mashed all 5 peeled potatoes until all large lumps were gone. Then added in the ricotta and flour mixture. Now it was time to get messy, using my hand I combined all the ingredients together. Don’t mix too long, a few minutes should be enough, because you want the mixture to stay light and fluffy.

Make sure you have a large flat surface to place the finished gnocchi on, as this makes a very large amount. (Note: pre-cooked gnocchi can be frozen. We froze half of this mixture).

Spread plenty of flour on the counter and roll a large handful of the mixture into a long rope about the thickness of a hotdog. If the rope gets to long just cut it into more manageable sizes. When it is the right thickness cut into inch long pieces. Traditionally people use a fork to shape the gnocchi but my mum has always just used her thumb and forefinger to gently pinch the gnocchi into pillows.

This is a long process but well worth it. I put the pinched gnocchi aside to dry a little while I make the sauce. We are currently trying to have one vegetarian dish a week so I thought I would make a mushroom sauce for the gnocchi.

In a large pan melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 2 tablespoon olive oil. When hot throw in 1 large shallot diced and 3 cloves of garlic finely minced, you can also add in your favorite herbs at this stage. I used 1 tablespoon dried basil and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. When the garlic starts to brown add 5 cups of sliced portobello mushrooms and mix.

After cooking the mushrooms for a couple of minutes I added 2 cups of chicken stock. I know this isn’t vegetarian but it was all I had on hand. Use vegetable stock if you want to go truly vegetarian. Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until stock has reduced.

I added 1/2 a cup of cream when the stock had reduced, mixing until the sauce started to thicken. If it doesn’t thicken just add a small amount of corn flour (corn starch) to help it along. Once it had thickened slight I added 1 cup of parmesan cheese that had been grated. Stir until it has melted. I also season with salt and pepper at this stage.

While I was making the sauce I boiled a large pot of water for cooking the gnocchi. When the water is boiling I throw in about 10 gnocchi. The great thing about these is that they actually tell you when they are cooked by floating to the top. This usually only takes a couple of minutes. Make sure you remove them from the water as soon as they float because they will fall apart very quickly. Use a slotted spoon to remove and drain and then place them in a bowl. If I am doing a lot like this I will sprinkly some olive oil on them in the bowl just to stop them sticking while I cook the rest.

When I have cooked enough for the sauce I gently add the gnocchi to the sauce, stirring very gently to cover them all. Be gentle because you don’t want to break them up and get mashed potato. Serve in bowls with generous amounts of parmesan and some garlic bread for dipping in the sauce.

The sauce was creamy and delicious and should go with all kinds of other pasta too. Overall they turned out pretty well. I think I will make a half quantity next time because we have heaps left in the freezer to cook later and a weeks worth of lunches of leftover. J. seemed to enjoy it which is great, though I won’t be making them again anytime soon.