After eating at three-star restaurants and trying complicated recipes, it’s easy to forget that simple food can be great, too. Fortunately I only need to browse one of Biba Caggiano’s cookbooks to be reminded of that, and that is where I found this recipe. You may not think that making your own gnocchi from scratch is simple food, but it is for many Italian home cooks. Of course you could use store-bought potato gnocchi to make this recipe instead, but fresh homemade gnocchi are much more delicate and a great match for this lovely fish sauce. The combination of seafood, tomatoes, and potatoes is a classic in Italian cooking and for good reason because it is very tasty.
Important to this dish are the freshness of the fish, the lightness of the gnocchi, and not overcooking the fish. If you overcook the fish, it will fall apart and become dry. By turning off the heat and allowing the heat of the sauce to cook the fish, you prevent the fish from overcooking and it will remain juicy.
I prefer to cook the potatoes for gnocchi sous-vide, but this time I cooked them in the oven just to stress the point that you can make gnocchi without any kind of equipment. I made two changes to Biba’s recipe: I used white wine instead of brandy, and I added some concentrated fish stock for additional flavor.
225 grams (.5 lb) white fish fillets, such as sea bass, sea bream, or sole, cut into pieces about the size of gnocchi
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
1 clove garlic, minced
240 ml (1 cup) fish stock, reduced to 80 ml (1/3 cup)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 can (200 grams/7 oz) peeled tomatoes, pureed in the food processor
1 Tbsp heavy cream
80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
For the gnocchi
400 grams (.9 lb) floury potatoes
80 grams (1/2 cup) 00 flour
pinch of salt
Repeat until you have used up all of the dough. As an optional step you can use the tines of a fork to make grooves in the gnocchi, but that is not really needed as they will hold the sauce well anyway.
This is great with many Italian unoaked dry whites. Try it with a greco di tufo.