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Golden balls: parmasan crusted gnocchi with pesto: Wimbledon Men's Final

Cooking and watching the Wimbledon final is a fine way to spend a Sunday afternoon in my book. Yesterday’s dinner naturally had to be Wimbledon-themed: here the green grass is represented by pesto, while my golden parmesan-crusted gnocchi are taking on the role of the sunshine-yellow tennis balls.

Serves: 6

For the gnocchi:

450g plain flour

600g mashed potato

1 egg

Salt and pepper

A generous handful grated parmesan

For the pesto:

1 large bunch basil

1 handful pine nuts

2 handfuls grated parmesan

A generous slug olive oil

1 clove garlic

Gnocchi

In a large bowl, add the potato, flour and egg, season and mix by hand to form a dough. On a floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes. Divide into four and roll each section into a long sausage. Use scissors to snip each sausage into individual gnocchi.

Pop a large saucepan on the hob and fill with boiling water. Maintain at a simmer and drop in the gnocchi in batches. When the gnocchi float to the surface, fish them out with a slotted spoon, plunge into a bowl of iced water and set aside.

Now make the pesto, simply bung all the ingredients into a blender and whizz to a smooth paste, add more oil if too thick. Line the bottom of a baking dish with pesto, then cover with the cooked gnocchi and finally sprinkle over parmesan cheese and black pepper. Grill for 5-10 minutes until the cheese melts and turns golden brown.

Enjoy, hopefully without the bitter taste of defeat.

spaghetti al ragu

It takes two to tango: spaghetti al ragu

As part of my bid to reduce food waste in the LoveRichCashPoor kitchen, and therefore spend less, I often cook dishes that double up on key ingredients in pairs. Here’s the second dish from week five‘s double dip.

Serves: 6

500g lean beef mince

2 red onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 rashers of bacon, chopped

2-inches chorizo sausage, chopped into chunks

2 carrots, peeled and grated

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

4 portobello mushrooms, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tins chopped tomatoes

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp basil

2 bay leaves

Half a tsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp tomato puree

2 glasses red wine

300ml chicken stock

Olive oil for frying

Salt and pepper

A splash of balsamic vinegar

1 tsp sugar

In a large casserole, brown the mince in batches and set aside. Fry the onion and garlic until soft, then add the bacon and chorizo. Once browned, add the carrot and celery and fry until soft. Chuck the mince back in and pour in the wine, tomatoes, puree, stock and herbs.

Stir well and add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a tsp of sugar. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down low and simmer for two hours, remembering to stir occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mince is coated in a rich, tomatoey sauce. 10 minutes before serving, throw in the mushrooms and stir well, then season to taste.

Serve with spaghetti, or use as part of a lasagne.

Spaghetti al ragu is fantastic if served with a sprinkle of fresh basil and grated parmesan – I didn’t have any, so I used cheddar.

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