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Gnocchi Romana Recipe

The talented Christopher Ditch will be presenting patrons with his delicious dishes this week, between 3 - 9 July. It's already week five of the Madame Zingara’s Second Annual Chef’s Showcase and the competition is heating up. Remember to vote for your favourite of the six finalists and you could win some amazing prizes! Each week we'll show you which dish got each of the contestants into the final - this will also give you a glimpse of the tantalising menus waiting for you at the Sidewalk Cafe! Christopher Dish sealed the deal with this mouthwatering ensemble... GNOCCHI ROMANA Ingredients for Gnocchi: 4 cups milk 2 to 3 tsp salt 200g (just over 1 cup) semolina flour 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 tbs butter 1/2 cup bread crumbs Ingredients for Braised Oxtail: 2kg oxtail 1 bulb garlic 1 carrot 1 celery stalk 1/2 cup red wine 1/2 cup Coca-Cola 1 stalk rosemary 1 stalk thyme 1/2  litre water (beef stock if possible) Directions for Gnocchi:

  • Pour milk into large heavy based saucepan (can add extra flavours, e.g. nutmeg, peppercorns, or bay leaves to infuse the milk).
  • Bring the milk to simmer, slowly whisking in the semolina until it becomes thick. This should take five minutes.
  • Continue to whisk for a further 7-10 minutes, until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. This will ensure that the semolina is cooked and will set.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the parmesan and butter.
  • Let the mixture cool down for a minute before adding in the eggs (to prevent the eggs from scrambling), then turn out into a large bowl and let it cool down in the fridge.
  • After an hour portion the gnocchi in square blocks using a palette knife, and sprinkle the breadcrumbs to cover the gnocchi.
  • Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes at 190c, until brown and crispy.
Method for Braised Oxtail:
  • Dice all the vegetables and heavily season the oxtail with salt and pepper.
  • Place a large pot on high heat, add a little oil, then once the oil is hot add the oxtail.
  • Heat the meat until the colour becomes a golden brown, then remove the oxtail from the pan.
  • Add in the vegetables (try to caramelise to get the most flavour from them) and then deglaze (a cooking technique for removing and dissolving caramelised food residue from a pan) with wine and add the oxtail back to the pot.
  • Let the wine reduce by half then add the coke and beef stock.
  • Cover with a lid or tin foil and simmer for up to four hours.
  • After four hours, let the oxtail cool. Once cooled, the meat should be easy to shred from the bone.
  • Once all the meat is shredded strain the cooking liquid.
  • Re-heat the shredded meat in a pan with butter and parsley.
To Plate:
  • Once the gnocchi is golden brown, remove it from the oven and place it in the middle of the plate.
  • Spoon the heated oxtail over the gnocchi.
  • Serve with a light salad (optional).
Born in the UK, Chris knew without a doubt when he left school that he wanted to work in a kitchen, so his first job was dishwasher at The Kemp Brasserie in Brighton. He soon worked his way up to commis chef and after a year he joined our beloved Heinrich Koen at Aldo Zilli in London, where he developed and honed his skills as a line chef. During this time he also worked with renowned chef, Pierre Kaufmann, at a function at The Royal Opera House. Chris has worked at both Cafe Mozart and Cafe Paradiso and has been an inspiration to all Madame Zingara staff for his dedication to his craft.
Don't miss out on this exciting showcase! Book your table at the Sidewalk Café today on 021-461-2839 or visit sidewalk.co.za. To find out more about the Chef’s Showcase visit madamezingara.com.