Caramelized Corn and Fennel Gnocchi

Step 1:

  • Place 1 nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot add 2 tbsp of cooking oil. When oil starts to bead add gnocchi. Sear gnocchi for 1-2 min. Toss gnocchi so each side is golden brown. Set aside.

Step 2:

  • Place a second sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil. When oil starts to bead add fennel and corn mixture. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for another 2 minutes. Once caramelized, reduce heat to medium-low. Add corn cream and the tarragon sprigs. Once sauce begins to thicken, grate 1/2 of parmesan cheese into the pan. Add gnocchi to the corn mixture with a slotted spoon (try not to transfer any oil from gnocchi pan). Toss to ensure fully coated. Slowly cook until sauce can coat the back of a spoon and adheres to the gnocchi. The sauce will break if the heat is too high. Remove tarragon sprigs.

Step 3:

  • Divide gnocchi between two plates. Garnish with tarragon pangrattato (bread crumbs). Grate remaining parmesan cheese over entire dish. Garnish with fennel fronds (leaves). Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Gnocchi (Russet Potato, Egg Yolks, Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper, Flour) Corn Cream (Corn, Thyme, Tarragon, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pepper, Heavy Cream) Fennel, Tarragon, Corn, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pangrattato (Butter, Olive Oil, Sourdough (flour, salt, water, yeast) Salt, Pepper, Tarragon, Lemon Zest)

How We Got Here:

Your gnocchi starts as russet potatoes that are slowly baked in the oven. Once they are soft throughout we remove the flesh and pass it through a food mill creating a fluffy cloud like texture. While still warm, we incorporate egg yolk, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and flour until a dough is formed. We then cut, roll across a gnocchi board, blanch, cool, and vacuum seal the gnocchi. The corn cream is slowly simmered for 3 hours bringing out a bright corn flavor throughout the cream. The pangrattato is sautéed in a butter/olive oil mix. Once it begins to crisp, we remove the bread from the heat and toss with tarragon and lemon zest. All the remaining ingredients are carefully prepped and packaged ready for you, the home cook to finish the dish. Enjoy!

Sommelier Doug Smith’s

Tasting Notes/Recommended Wine Pairings

Wine Recommendation: Gini Soave Classico

Premium Wine Recommendation: Pieropan La Rocca Soave Classico

Gnocchi is a varied form of dumpling in Italian cuisine since Roman times. It can be a pasta though often it is made with potatoes. Due to its Italian origins, we will explore Italian wines to pair with this dish, especially with the Chef’s use of the classic Italian cheese, parmigiano-reggiano, the famous aged hard cheese with a savory and nutty flavor. The star of this dish is the sauce, a white, creamy sauce that begs for either a contrasting texture or a similar one.  The goal is to either contrast or complement the dish with the wine pairing.  In this case, we will contrast the creaminess while supporting the sweetness of the caramelized corn and corn cream which we do not want to overpower.  So let’s pair this dish with an Italian standard – the wine from the same region that is the birthplace of gnocchi, the Soave varietal from the Veneto region of northeast Italy.  This is not the Soave wine you drank in college but rather a dry wine made from the Gargenaga grape and it is a much more refined, delicate wine. The Soave wine is named for the region it is produced, which is often the case in old world wines.  Soave is a community in the Veneto region – originally founded in the late middle ages and was torn apart regularly by feuding families and kingdoms for hundreds of years.  Eventually it became part of Italy in the mid 1800’s.  If you visit the Veneto region, the castle from one of the controlling families in the 1500’s is still there, complete with a drawbridge and gate, protecting a church from the 10th century.  The varietal itself is typically very aromatic with floral notes and almond, herbal spice and citrus on the palate. If you grab an extra bottle and store it for a year or two, the wine picks up even more almond flavors as it ages.  When you buy Soave – seek out the Classico or Supieror labelled wines (though Supieror is difficult to find locally).  Here the regulators limit the yield and it produces finer wines. 

The recommended wine is Gini Soave Classico (PLCB $15.99).  Gini is one of the producers right in the middle of the original hills of Soave, which are now designated as Soave Classico.  The producers in this region are few, but they are most impressive. The Gini family has grown grapes in the Soave Classico zone since the 1600s. The wine itself has crisp citrus notes along with honeysuckle. This Soave marries very well with the cream, corn and fennel, taking it to the next level by cutting into the creaminess while working with the sweetness of the dish.

The premium recommend wine is Pieropan La Rocca Soave Classico (PLCB $31.99).  This is an elegant, flavorful and stunning wine.  The first blush of aromas include mature peach, tropical fruit and almond.  The flavors capture those same sensations along with honey, apricot, vanilla and wild herbs.  It has bright acidity and the entire package, particularly the combination of citrus with vanilla and almond create a perfect backdrop for the dish.