Sunday, April 14, 2019

Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Gorgonzola – and flaming cheeks !

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Upon a time, I had a favourite little restaurant. It did decent coffee and good homely Italian food at a reasonable price. It was the sort of place where you could eavesdrop on the most interesting of conversations, or chat to a complete stranger on the table next to you.
Its main attraction was its star waiter, a crazy, red-haired Roman with a big heart and an eagle eye who kept the place more or less shipshape. He was deeply and irrevocably a fan of The Blues Brothers. From time to time, he would get a little carried away, douse the lights and subject his alarmed (and captive) audience to a rather startling mime of I Can’t Turn You Loose.

I once spent 8 hours there – breakfast with one friend, a chance meeting that turned into lunch with another, and then finally dinner with my beloved – although I did go for a walk in between times to make room for my favourite of their dishes - Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Gorgonzola.
Unfortunately I’m too embarrassed to go there anymore. The eagle-eyed Roman was off duty that evening. And I know I shouldn’t have... but rather stupidly... I left my beloved unattended for a whole five minutes. (The Roman would have kept an eye on him...) When I returned, the restaurant was filled with smoke, and feathery ashes were settling on the clientele. He had managed to accidentally set his napkin on fire. He had quickly extinguished the flames, but while he was busy checking if anyone had actually noticed, he failed to notice the napkin had reignited and set the tablecloth ablaze.

This is my attempt to recreate the gnocchi dish - Blues Brothers soundtrack and inferno optional.
For lunch for 2, you will need...
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
300g ready-prepared potato gnocchi (a lazy dish, this)
150g fresh mushrooms, sliced
a fat clove of garlic, crushed
5 tablespoons cream
40g Gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
freshly ground black pepper

In a frying pan large enough to take the gnocchi in one layer, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the gnocchi and fry gently until a golden crust forms, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, place the remaining olive oil in another pan over a medium heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the crushed garlic. Cook for a further minute or so before adding the cream and the Gorgonzola, stirring as the cheese melts. When the Gorgonzola has completely melted, add the parsley and the now-golden gnocchi.

Serve immediately with a little freshly ground black pepper over the top. I find it doesn’t really need any salt - but maybe keep a fire extinguisher handy :)

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