Cheese, flour, and egg…learn how these three simple ingredients can come together to craft the perfect Italian dumpling. Arthur Coutinho, Chef De Cuisine at Napa Valley’s famous Bottega Restaurant, joined the Frank Family team to divulge his expert tips on making Ricotta Gnocchi and long cooked tomato sauce with hen. Chef Art virtually demonstrated how to achieve his light and fluffy gnocchi – a craft he perfected from years of working at some of California’s finest Italian restaurants as well as traveling and working throughout Italy.
Gnocchi is a beloved accompaniment in the wine world because it makes the perfect vessel for delivering flavor while at the same time is a blank canvas for pairing voluptuous wines. In this virtual demonstration, Proprietors Rich and Leslie Frank and Director of Hospitality Liam Gearity, were joined by surprise guest, Owner of Bottega and Emmy-award winning TV host, Chef Michael Chiarello. As Chef Coutinho guided us through his expert culinary tips, Chef Chiarello cooked a colorful dish of “Angry Prawns” and shared stories of how his “nonna” developed the recipes in Italy.
Their inventive Italian dishes paired perfectly with three Frank Family estate wines and are sure to impress your own dinner guests! These wines have been included in a wine tasting package so you can taste along with us from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Be sure to re-visit the recorded event on our Youtube channel so you can take a virtual trip to Italy with Bottega’s repertoire of traditional Italian recipes with a California twist.
View the ingredients and recipes below.
Long Cooked Tomato Sauce with Hen (Yield 4 cups)
Pairs best with 2017 Chiles Valley Zinfandel
2 tbl - Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/4 cup - Carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4” dice 1/4 cup - Celery, cut into 1/4 inch dice 1/2 cup - Onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice 1 tsp - Garlic 1/2 - Bay Leaves (fresh only) 1 1/2 cup - Red Wine 6 cup - Di Napoli Tomatoes, whole peeled (pureed) 1 - Chicken Thigh 4 - Basil Leaves, minced (just before serving) 2 tsp - Rosemary, minced Grey salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a hot sauce pan, sear the Chicken thigh on all sides.
- Add the garlic and let brown, then crack in the rosemary and bay leaves.
- Immediately add the carrots celery and onions cook until translucent.
- Add the wine and cook dry.
- Add the tomatoes and either cook low and slow on the stove top or insert the pan into the oven until the chicken is perfectly cooked.
- Once the chicken is cooked, check the sauce for consistency. It should be a thick, homogenized sauce. Carefully remove the chicken from the sauce. It will be very tender.
- Add basil to sauce before serving.
Ricotta Gnocchi (Yield 4 portions)
Pairs best with 2017 RHF Cabernet Sauvignon
2 lbs. - Bellwether Farms Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese 4 tbl - A.P. Flour (Guisto), plus more for dusting To Taste - Grey Salt 2 ea. - Egg Yolks
- Put a 1 gallon pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil while you are making your pasta.
- Two days before you make your gnocchi remove the ricotta from the container and nestle it in cheese cloth over a strainer with something to catch the water. Cover the top of the cheese with plastic and put a weight over to help press some of the liquid out.
- On a wooden cutting board dusted with flour make a well with your dry cheese.
- In the center of the well separate your egg and drop the yolk in the center.
- Using a bench scraper fold the yolk into the cheese until it is fully incorporated. You will know by the color. You should not see any streaks of yellow.
- Then flatten the cheese out and put 1 tablespoon of your measured flour and fold it in by cutting the cheese in half and folding it over.
- Next, add another tablespoon of flour and fold it in. Repeat with the rest of your measured amount of flour. Continue to flatten and fold in half until the flour is fully incorporated.
- Finish by forming the dough into a loaf. Then cut loaf into slices, approximately the thickness of a wine cork.
- Cut the slices longways into bars the thickness of a wine cork once again. Take each of the bars and roll them on the board putting just enough pressure to roll the edges and coat them all the way around with flour.
- Cut the ropes of pasta into 1 inch long gnocchi. Once they are all cut dust them again with flour and gently toss them around.
- Transfer them on to a baking tray and freezer if you do not cook the gnocchi right away.
Cooking and Plating the Gnocchi with Hen Sauce
- If you are ready to eat, salt the boiling water with kosher salt. Drop your gnocchi into the water.
- Once it floats count to 15 and it will be ready. The gnocchi will not take longer than 1.5 minutes from start to finish.
- If you are cooking it from frozen it will take about 5 minutes for them to float. Remove 1 piece once they begin to float and gently press your finger into it. If you feel a pebble in the middle it is still frozen. Drop it back in and check it in another 30 seconds.
- Once they are ready, gently remove them from the water with a slotted spoon, not a wire spider or colander as they are too rough.
- Transfer the gnocchi onto a baking tray and then to the plate or platter.
- Drizzle the gnocchi with California Abequiña oil from your favorite frantoio. Add basil to the hot hen sauce and spoon it over the gnocchi on the platter. Grate fresh Pecorino Romano cheese over the top before it hits the table and enjoy with a glass of Frank Family wine!