Friends, Romans, Countrymen… I have a problem. Or so it would seem. Only now that I’m sitting here, Iced Peach Tea in one hand and latest recipe notes in the other, ready to share the yumness with you guys I realize that this is the third recipe involving peaches and/or nectarines in a row. Third one for you guys, that is… lots more on my side of the screen. And it’s not even our region’s peach season yet! I’m so sorry! I’m not even sure where that sudden obsession came from!
Ahrg… I promise, I’ll go find a Peachaholic Anonymous on Someday and at least think about doing my best to get a grip on myself in the meantime. But for now, here’s this year’s Spring on a plate – enough of it for 4 servings.
Just on a side note: Although these lemony morsels of yumness are worth every bit of effort and then some, there’s absolutely no shame in cutting this recipe short by buying your favorite Gnocchi at your local pasta specialist’s place – in our case, it’s a little stand on the Farmer’s Market selling their freshly handmade pasta on Saturdays. Their business takes “You snooze, you loose” to the next, very literal-on-a-weekend-level so every now and again, I actually make Gnocchi myself – and when I do, I do it right! With the ingredients and flavors I fancy at the time and, since Gnocchi don’t need as much work space or elbow grease as other types of pasta do, with gusto~ Oh and one more thing: I’ve only ever seen Lemon Gnocchi on Restaurant menus and never on sale so far, hence the chain of experiments that led to this particular recipe. But if you’re pressed for time, Lemon & Ricotta-filled Ravioli are a fantastic alternative – and most importantly: readily available in most well-sorted stores.
And here’s a tidbit of technical advice: if you have the stove space, get all three components on the heat at the same time – meaning: as the Gnocchi-water is on its way up a bubble, get the sauce-pan and the griddle heated up and filled so everything is done at the same time, approximately 6 mins later. If you’re short on said space, get the griddle-work done in advance and heat the veg up in the sauce as the Gnocchi are on their way.
Anyways, let’s get started.
The Lemon Gnocchi
2 Unwaxed Lemons, Juice and Zest
1 Salt Lemon, pulp removed and skin very finely chopped
500g Floury Potatoes, washed, peeled and cooked or steamed until tender – do this just before getting started with the recipe, they’re best worked through while they’re still warm
150g Potato or Buckwheat Flour
2 Egg Yolks
A very generous Pinch of Salt
¼ Tsp of freshly grated Nutmeg
1) Lightly dust a large tray with a light layer of flour and a sprinkle of salt.
2) Place a fork near one of the rims with the prongs turned down onto the tray. I usually place a long-pronged fork with the handle off the tray and secure it into place with a moistened towel to steer clear of slipping forks, flying dumplings and disgruntled cooks. I’ll get to the why of it all in a couple of blinks~
3) Work your still-warm potatoes into a fine mash – if you have a potato press or ricer, give them two rounds through the gizmo.
4) Place the mash in a large mixing bowl and press a well into the center of the heap.
5) Add the egg yolks and pile on the flour, ricotta, salt, nutmeg, salt emon, lemon zext and lemon juice.
6) Roll up your sleeves and, after adding a pinch of patience, gently knead the mixture into a smooth and even, fluffy dough.
7) Lightly dust your hands with a bit of flour, grab a teaspoon, pick up portions of the dough and roll them into little dumplings of about 2cm DIA.
8) Applying just a little bit of pressure, roll them over the prongs of the aforementioned fork onto your floured tray. Ta~dah! One Gnocchi, signature sauce-soaking markings and all, done! About 39 to go~
9) Pour enough water into a wide pan or pot to fill it up by 1/3. Lightly salt the water and bring it up to a very gentle boil on medium heat.
10) Add the Gnocchi to the water once it worked up a bubble and allow them to cook for roundabout 5-6 mins – they’re done once they rise to the top.
11) Time-Management Hint: Get a griddle and a pan onto the heat and check if you’ve got everything set for the sauce and the veggies~
12) Once the Gnocchi are done, drain off the water and place them on a plate before covering them up with tinfoil for the time being. Make sure not to leave them sitting there for too long, they’ll get sticky first and might disintegrate into their former potato-mash state.
The Griddled Zucchini and Peaches
2 Small Zucchini, sliced into ½ cm thin disks
2 Ripe Nectarines or Peaches, each pitted and cut into 8 wedges
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Generous Pinch each of Lemon Thyme leaves and chopped up or dried Rosemary Needles
1 Bird’s Eye Chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 Tsp of Honey
Salt, Pepper and Chilli Flakes
1/2 Lemon, Juice only
1) Grab a large mixing bowl and toss the nectarine wedges and zucchini disks with the olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, herbs and chilli flakes until everything is evenly glossed and dotted all over.
2) Remember the Time Management Hints I gave you earlier? If you didn’t follow up on them, now’s the time to place a griddle on high heat and, once its piping hot, add the veg in one layer – go in batches if need be – and mark them up for 1-2 mins per side.
3) Take them out, drizzle them with a bit of lemon juice and/or any leftover marinade and set them aside for a couple of minutes.
The Zingy Saffron Sauce
2 Shallots, finely diced
2 Cloves of Garlic, finely diced
1 Sprig of Rosemary
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Splash of Olive Oil
Opt: 50ml Dry White Wine or Port – a white Bordeaux, Chenin Blanc or hearty Chardonnay all work deliciously well. If you want to skip the wine, use more veggie stock instead
100ml Vegetable Stock
1 Pinch of Saffron Threads
½ Lemon, Zest and Juice
A Pinch each of Salt, Pepper and optional Hot Chili Flakes
1) In a wide, heavy-based pan sitting on medium-high heat, sweat onions and garlic in the butter and a bit of oil until they turn translucent.
2) Add the rosemary and deglaze the lot with the wine and/or stock and bring everything up to a boil.
3) Turn the heat down to medium-low, stir in lemon zest, juice and Saffron. Add the chili flakes too at this point if you like it hot – if you don’t, add the chilli later with the cheese for just a hint of zing or skip them altogether.
4) Allow the liquids to simmer away for 3 mins, then season, taste and adjust the sauce to your liking.
Assembling the Dish
The Lemon Gnocchi
The Griddled Zucchini, Peaches and Zingy Saffron Sauce
80g Pecorino de Pepe or Basil, grated or thin shaves – have a taste around the display of the nearest italian delicacy store!
1 Bunch of Basil to cross the Ts
Hubby’s Recommendation: 1 Blob of Burrata per Person to SERIOUSLY dot the Is. With a few Salt Flakes and Pepper Dots on top.
1) Add the griddled goods to your sauce-pan and give the lot a flip until everything’s well combined.
2) Divvy up the Gnocchi into four bowls or serving dishes.
3) Ladle the saucy goodies on to.
4) Sprinkle each serving with Pecorino and freshly chopped Basil and crown each dish with a deliciously creamy blob of Burrata.