stellenrust gnocchi

Gnocch-gnocch-gnocchin’ on heaven’s door

ricotta gnocchi

WINE: Stellenrust 47 Barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc
WITH: Ricotta gnocchi with basil pesto
WHY? Sometimes opposites attract

This wine is the best Chenin Blanc in the entire world. Fact.

Usually chenin blanc masquerades under the guise of Vouvray up in the Loire valley in France, or bulk inexpensive South African white, but when it’s done well… Oh boy!

The Stellenrust was incredibly complex, with the richness of the oak, mouth-watering flavours of ripe tropical fruits and citrus. It is certainly a wine that lingers.

The dish I chose to pair with it couldn’t be more different. There’s nothing fancy about this dish, in fact, its simplicity is what makes it sing.

I find that there’s something so relaxing and satisfying about putting a meal made completely from scratch on the table mid-week. I genuinely had forgotten how simple it was to make a homemade pesto and how much better it tastes than store-bought ones (and I mean the fresh ones… don’t even talk to me about that stuff that comes in a jar and can hardly be classed as pesto). The gnocchi was so quick to pull together and made little light fluffy pillows with a rich creamy flavour.

It was an unusual pairing I will concede, but it really worked. Somehow the creamy richness from the oak evened out with the creamy gnocchi, but the freshness of the wine really helped to cut through the oiliness of the pesto and lift the dish.

If you can’t find an oaked chenin near you then an oaked chardonnay would be a great stand in.

stellenrust gnocchi

Ricotta gnocchi

From Two Greedy Italians

  • 200g/7oz 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 225g/8oz ricotta
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 30g/1oz parmesan, freshly grated
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1. Mix the flour, ricotta, egg yolks, parmesan, nutmeg and seasoning together in a large bowl to form a soft, moist dough.
    2. Tip the mixture out onto a floured work surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. Roll the dough into a long, thin sausage shape, then cut into dumplings about 2cm/1in long.

  • 3. Cook the dumplings for 3-4 minutes in a large saucepan of salted boiling water.

    4. Remove the dumplings from the pan with a slotted spoon and add them to the pesto.

Basil Pesto
From Jamie Oliver

  • ½ clove garlic, chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 good handfuls fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 handful pine nuts, very lightly toasted
  • 1 good handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small squeeze lemon juice, optional

1. Pound the garlic with a little pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a pestle and mortar, or pulse in a food processor.

2. Add the pine nuts to the mixture and pound again.

3. Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan. Stir gently and add olive oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency.

4. Season to taste, then add most of the remaining cheese. Pour in some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little twang, but it’s not essential.