Hazelnut Gnocchi with Pea Mash & Asparagus

That's a weird combination you will say. Yes it is. And probably many Italians will say it's not traditional gnocchi any more. But I'm not afraid of all that, and I share with you today one of the most unusually flavoured dishes I have ever made.

This dish is pretty simple, most people know how to make gnocchi, cook asparagus, and mash some peas. But for some reason I would never put all of these together, and definitely would never add nuts to any sort of dumplings, so this makes this simple dish very fascinating and complex!

So where did I get this idea from? I was looking for some good new restaurants around Dublin, as I had a friend coming over to stay with me, and when looking through their menus, I found just that meal on the a la carte menu. I knew I had to try it, and then try to re-create it! They were rich, very comforting, with extra flavours from the browned butter and hazelnut sauce. They were delicious, and I hope you will be adventurous and try them yourself!

Ingredients (3-4 portions): 
  • 1/2kg / 1 lbs potatoes 
  • about 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut meal or about 150g of whole hazelnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 large egg yolk

Cook potatoes in a salty water until soft. Drain and mash them finely. Cool for 5-10 minutes.

Prepare a cup of flour and set aside. 

Prepare the hazelnut meal. Roast the nuts in the oven for about 15minutes, be careful not to burn them. When cooled down, blitz them in a food processor or mash in a plastic bag with a rolling pin.

In a bowl, or on a worktop, place the mashed potatoes, make a well in the center, and add the egg yolk and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle half of the flour on top followed by the hazelnut meal, and mix well. Knead until smooth. Keep adding the rest of the flour, if need be, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to your hands.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each into a long rope, and cut them into small pieces. You can roll each piece into balls, shape them on a gnocchi tray or floured fork, or just leave as they are. Place gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet or the counter.

In a large pot bring salty water to a boil. When boiling add 1/4 of the gnocchi into the pan and wait for them to float.

While waiting, melt butter in a frying pan and cook until brown. Add some crushed nuts to it.

When gnocchi are floating, remove from water immediately and place in a warm butter sauce for about 1 minute and serve. You can also place them in a colander, cook the rest of the gnocchi, and then place all of them in the butter hazelnut sauce, or pour the sauce over the gnocchi.

Serve with blanched asparagus and pea mash.



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