Fans of Terroni in Toronto know what to expect from chef Luca Stracquadanio. So when he left to open Ovest Cucina e Vineria, there was no doubt that he would be offering reliable and comforting, but modern, Italian fare at the King West restaurant. There, he cooks up his signature swordfish carpaccio, thin-crust pizzas and seasonal mains like veal chop and sea bass. Since you can't dine out every night, you can make this gnocchi dish at home to tide you over until your next visit.
On a clean surface, spread the cooked potatoes out and create a well in the centre. Add flour, eggs, cheese and salt. Mix by hand for 3-5 minutes until the entire mixture is well combined. Allow the dough to rest with a damp tea towel covering the gnocchi for 10-15 minutes.
Cut the mound of gnocchi dough into approximately ½ cup portions. Roll on a dry surface until you have logs that are the diameter of no larger than a dime. Using a bench scrapper, cut the logs of gnocchi dough into approximately 1 1/2 cm centimeter gnocchi. Heavily flour and transfer to a baking sheet.
You can store for up to 24 hours on a floured baking sheet covered with plastic wrap.
To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi slowly with the help of a spatula, making sure none of the gnocchi stick together. Leave in the boiling water for 30 seconds before gently stirring to help keep the gnocchi from sticking to each other at the bottom of the pot. Once all of the gnocchi float to the top, continue to cook for an additional 30 seconds. Strain and keep hot while you prepare the sauce.
Pesto and assembly
In a blender, combine pistachios and olive oil, and blend until extremely smooth, close to the texture of natural peanut butter.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the small pieces of pancetta until lightly golden brown and crispy. Add shallots and garlic and continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes.
Increase heat to high, add the pistachio pesto and 2 cups of pasta water or hot water to pan, and bring to the boil.
Add the gnocchi, grated Parmigiano Reggiano and salt to taste, continue to reduce the sauce until the gnocchi is completely coated with the pesto.
Serve garnished with a slice of crispy pancetta and a sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
- 8 to 10 servings