Potato gnocchi, mushrooms, pine nuts and truffle
It’s a pretty impressive win — being chosen to represent the Pacific region in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Grande Finale in Milan. Leslie Hottiaux of Apero Food and Wine in K Rd is the first Kiwi to do so and it’s so well-deserved! We’ve been singing her praises ourselves on many a Sunday afternoon as we accompany a glass of wine with some of her truly memorable terrine or pate (actually everything she makes is pretty darned good).
Leslie, who has never entered a competition before, beat nine other contestants in Melbourne last week (five New Zealand chefs made the final 10) and she heads to Italy in October where the S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 will be named from 20 chefs across the globe.
Right now the competition enters its final phase where those remaining 20 are assigned a master chef to advise them on how to improve their signature dish and help them prepare for the final competition.
Leslie’s signature dish is the potato gnocchi, mushrooms, pine nuts and truffle recipe she shares with us below.
Yes, it’s cheffy — and it’s likely you won’t have truffles at home — but do try a component or two, or more if you really want to show off.
Gnocchi and filling
|1½ kgs||Agria potatoes|
|200 g||Rock salt|
|1½ kgs||Pasta flour, I used the "OO" brand|
|1 pinch||Salt, to taste|
|150 g||Shiitake mushrooms|
|150 g||Portobello mushrooms|
|150 g||Button mushrooms|
|150 g||Oyster mushrooms|
|40 g||Flat leaf (Italian) parsley|
|250 ml||Grapeseed oil|
|80 g||Feta, I used Zany Zeus|
|20 ml||Truffle oil, black|
Pine-nut brown butter and truffle cream
|150 g||Unsalted butter|
|50 g||Pine nuts, I used Pinoli from Malborough|
|20 g||Fresh oregano|
|250 g||Creme fraiche|
|30 g||Fresh truffle|
|20 ml||Mushroom stock, juices saved from cooking the filling|
- Heat the oven to 190C.
- Wash the potatoes, prick with a skewer, place in an oven tray with rock salt, for 1½ hours until cooked.
- While still hot, scoop out the potato from the skin into a fine tamis [home cooks could push it through a fine sieve or potato ricer] and pass the cooked potato into a bowl. Add the flour and some salt and work the dough until it comes together (do not overwork). Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
To make filling
- Slice the mushrooms, finely chop the parsley and brunoise shallots (julienne them and chop into 3mm dice).
- Break the garlic bulb into individual cloves, place in a small pan, cover with oil, season. Confit the garlic cloves at 90C until nice and soft. Let the garlic cool, then peel. Reserve the oil for cooking the mushrooms.
- Saute mushrooms in a hot pan with the garlic oil and season. Add parsley, shallots, butter, and the confit garlic at the end. Cook until the shallots are soft.
- Drain the juices of the mushrooms into a sieve and leave to cool. Keep the juice for stock for the truffle cream, if making.
- Chop cooked and cooled mushroom mixture into a brunoise, place in a bowl with feta and truffle oil and mix gently. Check seasoning and place the mix in a piping bag.
To make gnocchi
- Roll out the gnocchi dough with a rolling pin, to 3mm thick.
- Cut the gnocchi sheet into 7cm x 7cm squares and pipe a tablespoon-sized dot of the filling on to the middle of the square. Fold the square, corner to corner, forming a triangle. Then shape the triangle to form a small tortellini.
- Just before needed, blanch the gnocchi in seasoned boiling water for 3 minutes.
For the pine nut brown butter
- Place the butter in a pan, melt over a low heat.
- Season with a little salt, then add pine nuts. Heat the mixture until the butter browns. Add oregano at the end and keep warm.
For the truffle cream (optional)
Mix the creme fraiche and fresh truffle, add the cold mushroom stock and check seasoning. Refrigerate.
Blanch the gnocchi. Place a spoon of truffle cream (if making) on a warm plate, followed by the blanched gnocchi. Cover with the pine nut brown butter and shave fresh button and portobello mushrooms on the top. Finish with grated edam and oregano flowers, and shaved fresh black truffle, if available.