Two weeks ago, I was very privileged to be asked into the kitchen of C Restaurant to observe the making of what is arguably their famous dish – gnocchi with napolitana sauce, gorgonzola and spinach cream.
C Restaurant is located on the top floor of St Martin’s Tower in Perth’s CBD and is the city’s singular revolving restaurant, offering a 360° panorama of Perth and the Swan River.
Although challenged to keep up with the dramatic transformation of the city’s dining scene during the past couple of years and compete with the vast number of new bars and eateries popping up, C Restaurant remains a polished venue offering some of the best value fine dining in Perth.
Long time followers may remember my efforts to replicate C’s signature dish a couple of years ago; a homage to its gnocchi which is served atop a bed of rich tomato sugo, covered in gorgonzola and spinach cream and a sprinkling of parmesan, then broiled under the grill until golden brown and molten. Absolutely delicious.
So when Head Chef, Frantisek (Fero) Ilizi, invited me into the restaurant’s kitchen to watch the creation of such a favourite, I was most appreciative and eager to take him up on the offer.
A huge thank you to Fero and the C Restaurant team for such a unique opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes of a commercial kitchen.
To make the several kilos of gnocchi required each day, a mountain of potatoes are boiled, peeled whilst still warm and then passed through a moulie.
The finely mashed potato is turned out on a large surface and seasoned with nutmeg, white pepper and parmesan, before the binding agents of flour and egg yolks are added.
The dough is brought together with care. Fero’s key tip here is to do so very gently and avoiding over-kneading the mixture, in order for the consistency remain as light as possible.
The dough is then divided and rolled into logs, before being chopped into the distinctive diamond-shaped gnocchi.
The trays of gnocchi are tipped into vats of boiling, salted water and cooked until the individual pieces float to the surface.
Once removed and drained, they are sautéed in a hot pan until glossy and caramelised at the edges.
Cream and gorgonzola are added to the pan and heated through until foaming, before adding handfuls of fresh spinach.
When ready to serve, a layer of thick napolitana sauce is ladled into the base of a shallow bowl, gnocchi placed on top and the gorgonzola cream poured over.
After a final sprinkling of parmesan, the bowl is placed under a hot grill to develop a lovely cheesy crust and the final touch is a garnish of sundried tomatoes.