Food | Chorizo and feta gnocchi bake
From a mystery ingredient in the occasional paella to an everyday staple, the UK seems to have gone chorizo crazy in the last few years – and for good reason. Its mildly spiced, rich and meaty flavour allows it to lift bland dishes into complex medleys of Spanish spice. This recipe maximises the convenience of chorizo and lets it do all the hard work in making the sauce taste delicious. Using slow and quick cook techniques, this meal is very simple and requires little hands on time. A filling recipe that’s great for feeding a crowd on a budget. For a milder cheese flavour, use mozzarella instead of feta.
Chop the onions finely and gently fry in a large saucepan with some oil. Chop the chorizo into small pieces and once the onion begins to clarify add them to the pan. Mix around for a minute or two and watch as orange oil starts to come out of the chorizo – this is your flavour. Only let the chorizo fry for a few minutes so as not to burn it, it should still look soft on the outside and not become crispy. Add the chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add a flat tablespoon of dried basil and mix well.
Grate 50g of the parmesan into the sauce and stir. The sauce is now effectively done and should be left with a lid on a low heat for ideally 1-2 hours to allow all the flavours from the chorizo to melt into the sauce. If you don’t have time, 30 minutes should suffice. Once you return, fire up the grill to a medium-high setting. Taste the sauce and correct for salt and pepper, add the rest of the parmesan and more basil if required. Add the cream a dash at a time and taste after each addition. You want the cream to compliment the tomato and meaty flavours by adding richness, not turning it into a white sauce. A pale terracotta colour to the sauce should be your aim. Turn the heat up on the sauce to medium-high so that it starts to simmer strongly.
Now add the gnocchi and cook for around 3 minutes. The gnocchi should be soft, almost sticky in texture. Take off the heat now and fold in the fresh spinach until it is wilted. Pour everything into a baking tray and crumble over the feta cheese. Place under the grill for around 5 minutes, or until the edges of the cheese start to brown.