Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.
Robert Mondavi

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Recipe and Wine Pairing - Chef Brianas' Gnocchi

Chef Constantine Brianas, a native of Nashua, has become one of the more acclaimed chefs of the area. He joined co-owners Stephen and Karen Williams a couple years back to create Unums. Since then, the restaurant has become a beacon of fine food and wine that challenges and trumps the best that southern New Hampshire has to offer.

Brianas’ innovated dishes and rotating menu offer a wonderful alternative to some of the more traditional fair in the area. One of the things that Unums does so well is their gnocchi and Chef Brianas was kind enough to share one of his seasonal recipes with us! It may look complex, but in all honesty if you follow the instructions it is very doable.

Gnocchi with Colossal Shrimp in Simple Pumpkin Sauce with Toasted Ginger

(4 servings)

Ingredients for Gnocchi:

1/2 cup whole milk Ricotta

1/3 cup Romano cheese (grated)

1 tsp lemon juice

3 eggs

Salt & Pepper to taste

Flour to consistency (approx 1-2 cups)

Ingredients for Toasted Ginger:

1 tree of ginger

Olive oil to coat

Dusting of ginger powder

Dusting of garlic powder

Zest of 1 orange

1 sprig of tarragon or sage

Ingredients for Shrimp:

12 large shrimp (peeled and deveined)

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup vegetable stock

2 tbsp. of maple syrup

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Step 1 – Gnocchi

Blend eggs together and then add Ricotta and whip together until a creamy consistency. Then add lemon juice, Romano and salt & pepper (to taste) and then whip until it returns to creamy consistency. Add the flour slowly until the mixture begins to fall of the edges of your mixing bowl. Continue to slowly add flour at this point until the stickiness turns to a pizza dough consistency.

Step 2 – Gnocchi

Gnocchi mixture should be rolled into logs that are ½ inch in diameter and then cut into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.

Step 3 – Toasted Ginger

Preheat oven to 450. Peel ginger, exposing all of the raw flesh and then cut into pieces so that you can mince it. In an ovenproof pan, add the olive oil and then after a few moments (allowing it to get hot), add the ginger and lightly dust the ginger and garlic powders and then toast until golden brown. Add the orange zest and sage or tarragon (julienned). Put into the oven for 7 minutes.

Step 4 – Shrimp and Simple Pumpkin Sauce

Sauté shrimp in a skillet until flesh turns pinkish and then add the ginger mixture from the oven and continue to sauté until golden brown and the shrimp have curled. Add the vegetable stock and heavy cream and then reduce by 1/2 until a lightly thickened consistency occurs (if it seems to be too thick, add a little more vegetable stock).

Step 5 – Gnocchi

Boil a pot of water and add a slight pinch of salt. Add the gnocchi and watch it sink to the bottom. Once the gnocchi floats to the top, strain it in a colander.

Step 6 – Finalizing the dish

Add the pumpkin puree and maple syrup to the mixture that has been sautéing and lightly incorporate. Then add the gnocchi, lightly stir for a couple moments and then serve!

Perfect Pairing

2007, Truchard, Chardonnay, Carneros, California - $29

While sitting with Chef, he recommended using a crisp white wine with this dish. Either a Sauvignon Blanc, Un-Oaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay or Riesling would work quite well. He recommended the 2007 Truchard for this dish as it is one of the wines on Unums wine list. It is light yet complex blend of nectarine and pear with lively acidity and long finish that will cut through the creaminess of this dish.



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