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July 2021 Issue
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Kūmara gnocchi with buttery greens

Photo: Isabelle Thompson

The buttery leek and nutmeggy gnocchi scents wafting from this dish are best-consumed at fireside.

This is a dish that can be made well in advance of the trip and left in the freezer until the day you head out. By the time the sun is setting, it’ll be pan-ready. I carry the fresh herbs wrapped in a paper towel inside a paper bag and, as always, have freshly ground salt and pepper in separate containers.

Serves 3
Cost $10
Prep time 5min (at camp)
Cook time 20min (at camp)

Gnocchi ingredients
1 large kūmara, approximately 300g
1 cup flour
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt

For the rest
5-9 sage leaves
A few sprigs of thyme
1 leek
2 cloves garlic
9 Brussels sprouts
Wine (optional, white or red)
Chilli flakes
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Method – at home
To make the gnocchi, prick the kūmara all over with a fork and roast whole in the oven at 180° until soft (about 40min). Let cool and then peel and discard the skin. Mash the flesh in a bowl with the nutmeg, salt and half the flour. Try not to overwork the dough but add more flour if it looks too sticky (the less flour you add the fluffier the gnocchi will be).

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. On a clean and lightly floured bench, roll the dough into a log and then divide into four pieces. Using your hands roll each piece into a long and skinny sausage with a diameter somewhere between a $1 and $2 coin.

Cut the gnocchi sausage into bite-sized pieces and drop these into the boiling water in batches, taking care to not overcrowd the pot. They’ll cook in just a few minutes and will be ready when they’ve been floating on the surface for 30sec.

Retrieve with a slotted spoon and drain. When all gnocchi is cooked, let cool and divvy up into flat/pack-friendly Tupperware to be frozen.

Method – at hut
Melt a sliver of butter in a frying pan and add the sage leaves. Cook until they start to change colour and go crispy, then remove from the pan.

Slice the leek into 1cm rounds, chop the garlic and trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and cut into wedge sixths. Melt 30g of butter in the pan then add the leeks. Stir only occasionally to get some crisping on the leeks. When they are a few shades of brown, add the garlic, cook for 2min then add the Brussels sprouts. Add the thyme leaves and cook for 3-6min (depending on how firm you like the sprouts), stirring occasionally.

Remove the contents from the pan, toss in some more butter and add the gnocchi. Pan fry until golden on most sides. When they start to stick, add a splash of wine.

Tip leek mixture back into pan, combine and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of chilli flakes, some walnuts (or anything nutty or seedy from your scroggin) and the crispy sage leaves on top.