A friend of mine and recently returned from Nuremberg. All my loved ones know that the best thing to bring me back from anywhere, I literally mean anywhere, is food. This time I was endowed with a bag full of wonderful German meats! Now that is my kind of sausage party!
I love pasta, I need it every few days. Most of those times I make it - either from scratch or from a packet. As I was greedily trying, slice after slice, of every type of sausage that sat before me, I thought how wonderful would this spicy sausage be with some tomato sauce and gnocchi!
I did make my own gnocchi but you can buy it. I have seen some at Modern Bazaar . Diva too has a deli - perhaps if you let them know in advance they can sell you some - as they do sell other fresh raw pastas. Either way I will provide a recipe below at the end.
The title of this post says "Recipes for People who Cook" because the recipes I usually share are my creations and I don't measure anything. But I have tried to quantify it as best as I could. It is a simple enough recipe that most home cooks should be able to use their discretion to reduce or increase things.
I also have a few cans of Italian tomatoes handy. In this recipe I used a can of cherry tomatoes. I you prefer to make your own don't use the regular desi tomatoes. Try and find a redder sweeter variety. Foodhall has some. Take 5-6 Ripe Medium Sized Tomatoes. Preheat oven. Cautiously sprinkle with salt and olive oil. Now this part is important. Do not put in an oversized baking pan. Try and find a cosy fit, because the more gaps the more of your juices will burn and dry up. We want to keep all of it. If you don't have a small enough oven pan - use several layers of foil. Roast in oven till they are completely cooked and ready to burst. Then proceed to burst them - joyful! Use a masher or fork. Do not blend - a few chunks here and there are desirable.
Gnocchi w/ Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce & Chorizo
- 1 Packet Cooked Gnocchi - You need 2 big pots - One with water and ice - half way. The other on the stove with just water - Boil water. Add a bit of salt to the boiling water. Throw in gnocchi. As the gnocchi rises to the surface you can use a strainer and remove. Immediately add the cooked gnocchi to the other pot with ice/water. Keep for only as long as they need to cool down - a few seconds. Strain through a colander and set aside.
- 1 Can Cherry Tomatoes - About an 800 gram tin . If you wish to use fresh tomatoes - follow instructions above.
- Red Jalapeño Chillies - 5-6 Sliced . Taste them - usually they are extremely mild in which case combine with 2-3 Bird's Eye Chillies sliced. I remove most of the seeds from these as they are quite hot.
- In a bowl add 1/2 tsp of sugar, a pinch of salt, 2-3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- Soak Chillies in this to start
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - About 3/4 cup
- Brussel Sprouts - 1 Packet. Separate petals/leaves as much as possible.
- Spring Onions - 7 - 8 Diced. Keep the white bulbs and the green leaves separate. Dice the white parts finer
- Chorizo Sausage - Either Cured or Fresh - I used a cured sausage which was closest to chorizo. Don't use just any "spicy" sausage - as its fat and spices will flavour your sauce. You want those beautiful paprika flavours you get from chorizo like sausages
- Garlic - 7-8 Cloves. Finely diced . I love garlic and I use a lot.
- White Wine - 3/4 Cups - Use a light wine - slightly fruity and sweet - avoid anything too acidic as you have the tartness from the tomatoes and vinegar in chillies. (If you have some wine that may not be worth drinking and you want to rid yourself off it - Add a tspn of sugar along with it. Though don't use something all together off as you want more of the wine taste rather than an acrid vinegar.)
- Salt to Season
- Sweet Basil - 15-20 washed leaves. Grow your own herbs. It will allow you to understand varieties of the same herb and their uses better. Using a sweet Italian basil for this is important rather than any other basil variety.
- Heat Olive Oil in a wok. And deep fry Brussel Sprouts till a light golden. Strain and set aside
- Fry green bits of spring onions. Strain and set aside.
- Reduce oil by half - set extra aside.
- Add sliced chorizo. Toss for about 1/2 minute. Strain and remove. Remember it's cured meat you arent trying to cook it just lightly soften it and allow some of the fat to flavour your oil. (If using fresh chorizo - cook separately - you dont need much or any oil as it will leave a lot of fat. Take about 2-3 tbsp of this rendered fat and add to olive oil remaining in wok.)
- Add garlic and whites of spring onions. You want to cook and soften both but do not allow them to crisp or turn golden.
- Add white wine. Simmer and allow it to reduce to about half or a more than half.
- Add Red Chillies along with its soaking liquids
- Add your canned or roasted tomatoes now. If using canned cherry tomatoes - mash up a few but keep the other half intact.
- Add previously cooked chorizo
- Season with salt
- Add basil leaves. Stir.
- Mix in your gnocchi. Switch off heat.
- Toss in the lightly crisped brussel sprouts and fried green onion green bits.
- Take out in to serving dish. Lightly drizzle the extra virgin olive oil you kept aside from frying the brussel sprouts.
- Serve with some grated parmesan on the side.
Now I end up making my own gnocchi because it is usually too last minute to order and buy some - my cravings kick in without any warning - and they must be appeased then and there. No I am not pregnant. God save me from my cravings when that day arrives.
I have made it a couple of times now that I don't follow a recipe. But I am sharing one from my pasta bible, "
, to make things easier for you all. It's a great book for any pasta lovers out there to get their hands on.