A HOME-COOKED meal is music to the ears of those wanting to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year and also keep to a budget.
Romance does not have to be about expensive gestures, so why not treat your special someone to a thoughtful dining experience without leaving the house.
Mutti Parma Tomatoes has partnered with TV personality and Italian born food lover Silvia Colloca to develop a range of simple recipes that can be re-created in any kitchen, regardless of skill.
So why not make the one you love something hot and Italian to add a romantic spark to the evening.
BAKED GNOCCHI SORRENTINA
Full-cream ricotta (450g)
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
1 pinch freshly ground white pepper
Plain flour, plus extra for dusting (100-120g)
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving (50g)
5-6 basil leaves, finely shredded
2 400g tins of cherry tomatoes
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, skin on, bashed with back of a knife
1 small celery stick, finely chopped
Salt flakes, to taste
A handful of basil leaves
1 cup of bocconcini
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large heavy-based frying pan.
Fry the shallots, celery and the garlic on medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until the shallots turn translucent and slightly golden and the garlic smells fragrant.
Add the cherry tomatoes, season with salt and cook on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the celery and basil leaves.
Cover with a lid and set aside.
In the meantime, make the gnocchi.
Discard any excess liquid from the ricotta and put it in a large mixing bowl with the egg yolks, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Add the flour and work with floured hands or a wooden spoon until you have smooth soft dough – it should be pliable and a little sticky but not too wet.
Don’t be tempted to add lots of flour to make it easier to work the dough, as the resulting gnocchi will almost certainly be dense and doughy.
Flour your hands and cooking bench generously and divide the dough into six pieces.
Take one piece, sprinkle it with flour and roll it with your hands to form a log.
Cut the log into small rectangles and set aside on a floured wooden board.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Turn the heat back on under the tomato sauce on low and preheat your oven to 200 C.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and drop the gnocchi into the pan, in two or three batches, stirring gently.
Cook for 1–2 minutes or until they come up to the surface, lift them out with a slotted spoon and drop them straight into the pan with the tomato sauce.
Repeat until all the gnocchi is cooked.
Coat them well in the sauce.
Place the gnocchi and sauce in a large oven safe dish.
Distribute the bocconcini evenly, grate parmesan on top and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the gnocchi looks bubbly and irresistible.
Serve with basil leaves and drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.