Recently I was contacted by Francesco, the Head Chef at L’Enoteca in Victoria Park and the man behind The Bald Chef blog. He’s recently started branching out beyond the restaurant and looking at catering, plus cooking classes. I was lucky enough to attend his first, learning the art of gnocchi.
Unlike most cooking classes we didn’t have individual stations but I quite liked the relaxed, intimate vibe. We all were given recipes to take home, and each step was explained carefully with different members of the group stepping up to have a go.
The moment the garlic hit the pan and began to sizzle, I became a starved creature, desperate for gnocchi goodness. But with a little patience, and attentive listening skills of course, the time finally came to eat.
Rolling the gnocchi out I managed to pick up some great tips which I’ll be able to use at home. One particular nugget of gold was having a wooden surface to use as it managed to maintain a stable temperature that wasn’t too hot or cold compared to stainless steel.
We also learned how to make a couple of sauces to accompany the gnocchi – resulting in three different dishes. One was a cream and asiago sauce, the other a cherry tomato simple sauce. The latter was used to coat the gnocchi and bake it with torn chunks of buffalo mozzarella… yes, I was drooling at the sound of all of these three variations.
First to taste was the asiago cream sauce gnocchi. It was light, fluffy and ticked all the boxes from a gnocchi perspective but the sauce itself also was decadent and rich – perfect comfort food for us to devour as the wind howled outside the restaurant.
A little crack of pepper over the top and it was a dish I’ll happily consume. Simple, ethereal and flavoursome. This recipe has been filed away to try again in the future at home.
We finished up with the baked gnocchi that was steaming hot as it came out of the oven. It’s golden and cheesy, with little bobbly bits of different texture begging to be eaten. I’ve had baked gnocchi before at restaurants and seen it in cooking books, but I’ve actually never tried making it at home.
It was nice to see that the recipe for the gnocchi itself wasn’t any different meaning there’s versatility in the pasta staple that we learned. And the flavour – well once again it was humble and oh so comforting. I feel like this winter is going to be the season for gnocchi at our house!
What a fun evening with lots of laughs and a great meal (with a glass of wine to finish off)! I can’t wait to put my new skills to the test for my boy who also loves gnocchi (though not as much as I do!). If this kind of cooking class sounds right up your alley make sure you get in touch with Francesco at The Bald Chef.