Wild mushroom and stinging nettle gnocchi

Food is about so much more than just filling bellies. At minimum, it provides the setting to build memories with people we love. At its full potential, it can help enrich lives and build communities. That's the message of Goodness: Recipes and Stories, a new cookbook that features a collection of recipes and stories from chefs, growers and food activists that explains why good food matters and their interpretation of community. Half the proceeds from the book will be donated to Community Food Centres Canada.

For this cookbook, Chris Brown from Toronto's Citizen Catering shares his recipe for gnocchi with wild mushrooms and stinging nettles.

1 large russet potato
5 oz. wild stinging nettles
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 egg yolks
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp melted butter
kosher salt, to taste
9 oz. mixed wild mushroom, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp unsalted butter
asiago cheese, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

With the tines of a fork, pierce each potato three times. Place on a baking sheet and bake until tender, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath.

Wearing gloves, carefully add nettles to boiling water and blanch for 15 seconds.

Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer to the prepared ice bath to cool. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop. Set aside. 

Using a ricer or food mill, pass cooked potatoes into a bowl. Add ricotta, egg yolks, flour, Parmesan, melted butter, and 2 tsp salt. Stir until a soft dough forms.

Bring a large, covered pot of water to a rapid boil.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Lightly dust a clean work surface. Using your hands, gently roll dough into long rope about 1/2 inch in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut into mini gnocchi, each about 1/2 inch long. Gently press the tines of a fork into each gnocchi to make slight indentations. Dust lightly with flour.

Place gnocchi in boiling water and cook until they float to the top, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to a large tray.

In a bowl, toss mushrooms with 2 tbsp oil and pinches of salt and pepper. Spread on a roasting pan and roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. 

To finish, in a large skillet, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add remaining 2 tbsp oil and butter, stirring until butter is melted. Add cooked gnocchi, nettles, and mushrooms, tossing to combine. Heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a large platter and grate Asiago overtop. Serve immediately.

4 servings