Sunday, 23 September 2007

Silver Beet and Gnocchi

NAME: _Silver Beet and Gnocchi

1 bunch silverbeet
1 tbsp flour
100g thin sliced rolled pancetta
1/2 medium onion
1 clove garlic
50g tasty cheese
2 tsp olive oil
500g potato gnocchi
1 vegetable stock cube

Wash the silverbeet carefully and shake off the water. Cut the silverbeet leaves from the stems, cut into 3cm strips, place in steamer basket and put on to steam. Meanwhile slice the onion, garlic, and pancetta thinly and fry over low heat in the 2 tsp of olive oil. Select several silver beet stems and slice thinly across, add to the pan and continue to cook over low heat.

Place four slices of pancetta between paper towel and microwave for 3 minutes or until crisp. Allow to cool and crumble up, serve in a bowl to sprinkle over each plate. Dice or grate the cheese and set aside.

When the silverbeet has steamed to limpness, lift it from the steamer and place aside, boil water for the gnocchi, and when boiling, add the gnocchi and boil until they rise to the surface, then about a minute more. Drain the gnocchi, refresh with cold water and set aside.

When the onion garlic pancetta and silverbeet stem mixture has softened, add the flour and stir well, allow to fry a minute or two longer, then add about 250ml of water, the cheese, and the vegetable stock cube. Stir until thickened, add water (or, if desired, milk) to make a rich creamy sauce, then add the steamed silverbeet and stir through well. Salt to taste.

Serve immediately, spoon the silverbeet and sauce over each plateful of gnocchi and garnish with crumbled pancetta. Mild green olives are a nice side to this dish.

The whole meal takes about 15 minutes if you do things concurrently, and now in the spring is the time to find good fresh leafy greens for your diet. Light steaming preserves the taste and nutrients in the silverbeet, and the pancetta with a tasty cheddar cheese is a lovely counter to the slightly bitter taste of the silverbeet.


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