GNOC­CHI WITH TOMATO & EGG­PLANT RAGU

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Serves 6 I’ve al­ways found my­self de­terred from mak­ing gnoc­chi by the idea that you need ‘spe­cial’ pota­toes. How­ever, with a weedy in­fes­ta­tion of kipflers in my potato patch, gnoc­chi seemed worth a try and they worked beau­ti­fully! The amount of flour needed will vary, but start with the lower amount and care­fully add more if re­quired — the dough should feel soft but not sticky. A sturdy metal potato ricer is a use­ful in­vest­ment if you plan on mak­ing this recipe.

2 medium egg­plant, cut into 2cm pieces 2 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 1 tea­spoon sea salt 60g un­salted buttt­ter 3 gar­lic cloves, peeled, chopped 1kg ripe toma­toes, roughly chopped, juices re­tained ⅓ cup basil leaves, torn ex­tra basil leaves, to serve fifinely grated parme­san, to serve

POTATO GNOC­CHI

500g kipfler pota­toes, scrubbed ⅓ cup 00 plain flflour, plus ex­tra to dust ½ tea­spoon freshly grated nut­meg ½ tea­spoon sea salt or to taste 1 egg yolk Pre­heat oven to 175°C. Line 2 large bak­ing trays with bak­ing pa­per. Place egg­plant, oil and sea salt in a large bowl and toss to com­bine. Spread egg­plant over pre­pared trays. Roast for 40 min­utes or un­til ten­der and golden. Place but­ter and gar­lic in a large saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stir­ring, for 2 min­utes or un­til fra­grant. Add toma­toes and juices, basil, egg­plant and a gen­er­ous pinch of sea salt. Cook for 35–40 min­utes or un­til ragu is thick. Sea­son to taste. Trans­fer 2 cups of ragu to a large fry­ing pan. Keep re­main­ing ragu warm un­til re­quired. Mean­while, to make gnoc­chi, cook pota­toes in a large saucepan of salted boil­ing wa­ter for 20–25 min­utes or un­til very soft but not crum­bling. Drain, then im­me­di­ately pass through a potato ricer into a medium bowl. Make a well in cen­tre of potato. Add flflour, salt and nut­meg, and stir un­til well com­bined. Add egg yolk and mix un­til well com­bined. If dough is too sticky, grad­u­ally add more flflour, a ta­ble­spoon at a time. Knead dough un­til a soft ball forms (do no over­work or gnoc­chi will be tough). Turn dough onto a lightly flfloured sur­face and shape into a disc. Cut dough into 4 equal por­tions. Roll each dough por­tion into a 3cm-di­am­e­ter log and cut into 2cm pieces. Line a tray with a clean tea towel and lightly dust with ex­tra flflour. Place gnoc­chi on pre­pared tray. Bring a large saucepan of salted wa­ter to boil (the wa­ter should be so salty that it tastes like the sea). Add 6–8 gnoc­chi and cook for 2–3 min­utes or un­til they rise to sur­face (don’t let wa­ter boil too vig­or­ously or gnoc­chi will break apart). Use a slot­ted spoon to drain gnoc­chi and trans­fer to fry­ing pan with ragu. Re­peat with re­main­ing gnoc­chi. Toss gnoc­chi in ragu un­til well coated. Stir over a medium heat for 1 minute or un­til heated through. Spoon gnoc­chi among plates. Top with re­main­ing ragu and ex­tra basil. Serve with parme­san. >

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