Sunday 27 May 2012

Delicious May 2012 - Gnocchi with Cashew & Lemon Pesto

So here is the delicious magazine annual Italian issue. Hmm, to be honest I have to admit that having an annual Italian issue is beginning to annoy me. I am not saying that I don't love Italian food/recipes. It is just that delicious never seems to focus on any other cuisines. Surely they could change it up a bit. How about a Greek issue? Or a Moroccan/Middle Eastern issue? French, Mexican, Chinese, Spanish, Thai or perhaps a mix of Asian cuisines, Indian. There are so many cuisines that could be the focus of a whole issue rather than the same one every year. If you are going to produce and issue each year that focuses on one cuisine a bit of variety would be nice. 

Okay, so now that I have had a bit of a rant. There actually was quite a few recipes in here that I was interested in making. From first read I was going to make Debbie Major's Roast chicken breasts stuffed with mushroom & herb butter. It just sounded so incredible. It sounds like a really fancy recipe and the picture looks like it would take you a while to do but actually reading the recipe it is not that hard. For some reason though, I just never got around to making it. Also part of Debbie's section was Sausage, fennel seed & mushroom ragu with parmesan polenta. It also sounds and looks really good. I think it will get a run one day. Although I don't have pork sausages. I know that I could buy them, but I have a bunch of beef sausages in the freezer so I think I would use them. 

There was a Rick Stein feature in this issue as well. He had a recipe for Bagna Cauda which really interested me only because it featured in one of my favourite tv shows, Babylon 5 though, LOL. It was just in one episode where one of the characters is trying to get the ingredients for it except he is supposed to be on a diet. The Rick Stein recipe show exactly why it is not diet friendly, full of butter, olive oil, garlic, anchovies and cream. It sounds wonderful actually but is really not a recipe for one. Perhaps I will get a chance to make it one day. Another Rick Stein recipe that I was interested in was Slow-braised beef cheeks with parmesan polenta (hmm, lots of polenta in this issue). The recipe said that it served 8, for me it would probably be more like 10 or 12. Even halving the recipe would make too much for me. Plus I already have a freezer full of meals so will keep the recipe in mind. 

I ended up making Gnocchi with cashew & lemon pesto. Actually it was supposed to be almond & lemon pesto but I had cashews in the cupboard but no almonds so I decided that the would work just as well. I also added some parmesan to the pesto. I really enjoyed this. Next time I would probably leave out the prosciutto and  add some extra veg, like marinated eggplant, roasted capsicum and marinated artichoke hearts and perhaps some spinach at the end. The pesto was very good, although was a little bit oily for me so I would probably reduce the amount of olive oil in it a bit, maybe 75 - 100 mls. I almost didn't put it all in, I should have followed my instincts. I was lazy and didn't make my own gnocchi, just bought some from the supermarket, it was surprisingly good. I have gnocchi leftover in the fridge and a heap of pesto left over so I will make it again during the week with the changes I have suggested.

Gnocchi with cashew & lemon pesto

400g potato gnocchi
50g creme fraiche or sour cream
4 slices prosciutto, torn
semi-dried tomatoes, quartered
shaved parmesan, to serve

Cashew & Lemon pesto
1/2 cup cashews
2 garlic cloves
2 firmly packed cups basil leaves
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 120 C. Place cashews on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 5 - 10  minutes or until just starting to colour. Make sure to watch them closely. Cool. 
Using a food processor blitz the cashews and garlic together, add basil, lemon zest & juice and parmesan and process until basil is chopped. Drizzle in the oil with the motor running watch it closely and only use as much as you feel is necessary. Combine pesto with sour cream (I didn't combine it all, I just mixed up as much as I wanted to use). 
Place the gnocchi in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, removing and draining as they come to the surface. 
Combine hot gnocchi with prosciutto, semi-dried tomatoes and pesto. 
Serve with shaved parmesan. 

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