Food like this is why I love winter. These little individual “pies” are rich, nourishing and satisfying. They’re also quick to make if you buy the gnocchi, although if you want something a little more special for a dinner party, you could make your own.
To not serve this with a rocket and parmesan salad and a dirty big glass of shiraz would be a crying shame.
- 1 x 375 g packet gnocchi – buy the best quality you can find
- 500 g fresh mixed mushrooms eg swiss browns, portobello
- 10 g dried porcini mushrooms (or any dried mushrooms if you can’t find porcinis)
- 3 french shallots, peeled and sliced (the little brown onions, not the long green shallots)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 garlic clove, finely diced
- 50 g butter
- 350 ml red wine
- 100 ml water
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- salt & pepper
- extra butter
- parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 200 c.
Wipe the mushrooms with a damp clean cloth – don’t wash them in water because they will absorb water and not cook well. Chop or break the mushrooms up into small pieces and set aside.
Put the porcini mushrooms in a small heatproof dish in the oven, and let them cook for 10 minutes. Remove and pound in the pestle and mortar until powdered. (If you are pressed for time or can’t get dried mushrooms, you could just use some mushroom stock powder or cube and omit this step.)
Heat some olive oil in a heavy based pan or casserole dish and saute the shallots until soft. Add the rosemary, garlic, butter, and mushrooms and cook, stirring around a little, until the mushrooms are soft and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Pour over the red wine and let simmer just a little, then add the water and tomato paste. Sprinkle over 3 teaspoons of the porcini powder, mix through and let simmer gently for about 10 minutes, adding more water if necessary. You should have a thick red/brown sauce.
Meanwhile bring a pot of water to the boil, add a little salt, and cook the gnocchi for a few minutes, until they rise to the top. Remove and toss in a bowl with a little butter and some grated nutmeg.
Spoon the mushroom mixture into individual ramekins, leaving just a little room at the top. Spread the gnocchi over the top, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place the ramekins on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
If you find this too mushroomy, you could use fewer mushrooms and add some other vegetables. Parsnip would be wonderful. Add when sauteeing the onions.