Coming into winter time there is nothing more comforting that a hot bowl of soup to keep your hunger void. Weather it’s a vegetable or meat soup, pasta or bread based soups they are always an easy and fresh way to feed family and friends.
In Italy and also in many Asian countries the soups are a little more complex than your usual pureed vegetables, but also incorporate pasta, like the famous minestrone soup. This dish is in two parts and can be used on there own if desired but work extremely well together to fill the gap in ones appetite and balance out the soup and add texture and body to the dish. In this case the dish is combined with traditional Florentine pasta, ricotta gnocchi is the lighter, hipper cousin to northern Italy’s potato gnocchi. This gnocchi cooks up as soft, mild-flavored dumplings and the herbs work wonders with the earthy mushroom soup.
— Small handful of dried porcini
— Olive oil
— 600g mixed fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
— 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
— 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
— 50g butter
— Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
—1lt chicken or vegetable stock
HERB AND RICOTTA GNOCCHI:
— 500g fresh ricotta cheese
— 50g Parmesan cheese
— Small bunch thyme and parsley chopped fine
— 250g flour
— Pinch of salt
- Mushroom Soup
Place the porcini in a small dish, add boiling water just to cover, and leave to soak. Get a large pan nice and hot, and then add a good couple of lugs of olive oil and your fresh mushrooms. Stir around very quickly for a minute, and then add your garlic, onion, butter, season with salt and pepper.
- After about a minute you’ll probably notice moisture cooking out of the mushrooms and at this point add half of your porcini, chopped up, and the rest left whole. Strain the soaking liquid to remove any grit, and add it to the pan. Carry on cooking for about 20 minutes until most of the moisture disappears.
- Season to taste and add your stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes, pass through with a hand blender and you soup is ready.
- Herb and Ricotta Gnocchi
First it is important to drain your ricotta well, the added moister and liquid will make your gnocchi dough to soft to form the gnocchi.
- Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Then mix all together your ingredients to form soft smooth dough, it is important however not to work the past to much or the gluten in the flour will toughen and leave you with chewy gnocchi.
- Roll your pasta in to long, thin sausages to your desired size and cut your gnocchi. Straight into boiling water, once the gnocchi has floated to the service wait another minute or so and remove.
- Serve your Soup in a bowl or deep plate with 5-6 gnocchi for each portion and finish with good extra virgin olive oil.