Gnocchi with wild mushrooms

Serves 4

The gnocchi sold in many shops are a poor imitation of the real things – and home-made versions are so much tastier and cheaper.

You can use a single variety of wild mushrooms for this recipe, or a mixture. I've suggested using porcini powder for the sauce, which is basically powdered mushrooms and has a fantastic flavour. You can find it on the special selection shelves in some supermarkets or in selected Italian delis.

If you can't find porcini powder, just use some dried ceps soaked in warm water instead.

200-250g wild mushrooms, cleaned
50g butter

1tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2tsp porcini powder or 20g dried ceps soaked in warm water
250ml vegetable stock
350ml double cream

For the gnocchi

600-700g large floury potatoes, baked in their skins, peeled and mashed
1 large egg yolk
125g potato flour
1tbsp olive oil
Salt, freshly ground white pepper
A good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

First, make the gnocchi. Gently mix all the ingredients together and season to taste with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Roll the mixture into a thin cylinder and cut into 2cm lengths and refrigerate on a tray until required.

To make the sauce, gently simmer the shallots, garlic, porcini powder (ceps and soaking liquid if using) and vegetable stock in a heavy-based saucepan for about 30 minutes or until the stock has reduced by about two-thirds. Add the cream and continue simmering gently until the sauce thickens, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean pan and season to taste.

To serve, heat the butter in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms on a medium heat for a few minutes, seasoning as they are cooking, until tender, then stir in the chopped parsley.

Cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, then drain in a colander.

Spoon the gnocchi on to warmed serving bowls or plates, spoon over the sauce and scatter over the mushrooms.

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