Potato Gnocchi with Parmesan Rind Ragù
Few People know that Parmesan Rinds contain nothing other than milk, rennet and salt – the same ingredients that go into making Parmigiano Reggiano. The rinds become hard as the surface of the cheese dries out during the maturation process. Every day, for the entire duration of the maturation period of this ‘King of Cheeses’, the Parmigiano Wheels are brushed to remove any dust or oil which rises to the surface. Over the years, with the advent of plastic and wax cheese rinds, people have begun throwing them away. This is not at all necessary with those from Parmigiano. ‘Recycling’ alternatives include adding them to Minestrone or Bean and Pasta soups or grilling them.
The Michelin Star ‘Trattoria di Amerigo’, based in Savigno in the hills above Bologna shares with us the recipe for their Potato Gnocchi with Parmesan Rind Ragù.
FOR THE POTATO GNOCCHI
500g Yellow potatoes
150g ‘00’ flour
50g 24 month matured Parmigiano Reggiano
2 kg Course Salt
Spread out the salt in a large oven dish, place the potatoes on top and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (356°F) for one hour.
When the potatoes are cooked through and have cooled down a little, put them through a potato press. Make a well with the flour and place the pressed potatoes in the middle with the egg and the Parmigiano Reggiano and mix all the ingredients quickly by hand to form a smooth dough. (Remember to not overwork the dough).
Roll out dough sausages of approximately 3cm (1.2 in) in diameter and cut each ‘gnocco’ to a length of approximately 4 cm (1.5 in). Roll each ‘gnocco’ gently over the back of a fork or grater to make light indentations.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and place the gnocchi gently in the water. They are ready when they swim to the surface. Drain and incorporate the Parmesan Rind Ragù.
FOR THE PARMESAN RIND RAGU’
300 g Parmigiano Reggiano Rinds
70g Finely chopped Carrots
70g Finely chopped Celery
70g Finely chopped Onions
150g Tomato ‘Passata’
70ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
250ml Vegetable Stock
2 Bay leaves
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Twig Rosemary
Prepare the Parmesan rinds first by dampening them and then shaving off the outer layer with a knife or vegetable peeler.
Boil the rinds until they are soft and then chop into the smallest pieces possible.
In a heavy-bottomed pan, lightly fry the chopped carrots, celery, onions and garlic in the olive oil for several minutes and until they are cooked through. Then add the tomato ‘Passata’, the Parmesan rinds and 2/3 of the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, add the Bay Leaves and Rosemary and then simmer for 2 hours, adding small amounts of stock if necessary. Add salt if necessary. Serve with the Gnocchi.
TRATTORIA ‘DA AMERIGO’, 14-16 VIA MARCONI, 40060 SAVIGNO/VALSAMOGGIA (BO), ITALY – www.amerigo1934.it