After receiving a big box of chestnut flour from work I’ve been brainstorming ways to use it, as it’s new to me. I know that it is used a lot in Italy, where it’s lightly sweet flavour lends itself well to cakes and biscuits, which I will be trying out soon, but here I have used it in a savoury recipe.
The original gnocchi recipe is one I found on Chowhound and can be found here. I have adapted it, serving it with buttery, herby mushrooms…nice earthy flavours for this time of year.
Pan-fried chestnut gnocchi with buttery mushrooms, thyme and rosemary
Approx. 1kg russet potatoes
Rock salt, for baking
130g 00 flour
45g chestnut flour
2 tsp. salt + more for seasoning
¼ tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Semolina flour, for dusting
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 banana shallots, chopped finely
3 sprigs rosemary, stripped and leaves finely chopped
Handful of thyme, stripped and leaves finely chopped
3 knobs of butter
450g mushrooms, sliced
3 handfuls cooked chestnuts, sliced
Parmesan cheese, to serve (or veggie alternative for vegetarians)
Heat the oven to 200oC (fan oven).
Scrub the potatoes and pierce all over with a fork. Lay the potatoes on a baking tray, on a bed of rock salt, and roast for one hour, until tender when pierced with a fork.
While the potatoes cook, sieve the flours and combine in a bowl. Set aside.
Take the potatoes out of the oven and leave for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Do not leave them to cool completely as it is best to work with them while they are still hot.
Whisk the egg with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
Scoop out the hot potato flesh and immediately pass through a potato ricer, or push through a sieve at a slight height, into a large mixing bowl. This helps to get air into the mixture and get rid of any lumps.
Add the egg mixture to the potato and use your hands to combine. Add the flour in two parts, using your hands to kneed as you go until everything is combined. Do not over mix. Let the dough rest for around 15 minutes.
Lightly dust a clean surface with 00 flour and take a handful of dough. Roll it into a sausage shape, approx. ½ inch in diameter, and then cut off gnocchi, around 1 inch in size. Use the back of a fork to lightly make indents into the gnocchi to help the sauce cling onto the gnocchi later.
Line the gnocchi on a tray that has been dusted with semolina flour. Continue until you have used up all the dough. At this point you can freeze the gnocchi for later use or cook it immediately.
Heat a good glug of oil in a frying pan. Fry the garlic and shallots until translucent, being careful not to burn them. Add the herbs and fry until fragrant.
Add two knobs of butter to the pan and let it melt. Throw in the mushrooms and cook until soft and starting to brown. Throw in the chestnuts and stir. Turn the heat down while you cook the gnocchi.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. When it is boiling, drop the gnocchi into the water and lower the heat slightly. When the gnocchi rise to the top, after 2-3 minutes, they are cooked. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked gnocchi and transfer them to the pan with the mushrooms.
Turn the heat up on the frying pan and fry the gnocchi with the mushrooms, adding another knob of butter if you need it, until the sides of the gnocchi start to crisp up. Season well.
Serve immediately, with freshly grated Parmesan.