One of the best things about starting my gluten free blog has definitely been meeting and making such lovely new friends, who have taught me so much about diets, allergies and intolerances way beyond my own knowledge and personal issues with gluten. As a way of saying thank you for being so awesome, I decided to have a crew over to my new house for dinner to celebrate. I put myself to work to create the ultimate low FODMAP and dairy free version of my classic gnocchi dish that so many of you have been able to enjoy.
With coaching and advice from the lovely Lottie aka The Tummy Diaries on the do’s and don’ts of the low FODMAP diet and top dairy free tips from the amazing Alice aka Gluten Free Alice (who also took this lovely al fresco photo of our meal), I put together the following dish so that everyone can enjoy my Gnocchi Alla Marie. I am still learning about the FODMAP diet, and as getting your hands on appropriate seasoning or stock can be difficult, I decided to feature pancetta in my dish to add extra flavour and depth. For vegetarians, the pancetta can be replaced with black olives, which can be thinly sliced and added to the dish just before baking. Happy eating!
Low FODMAP and Dairy Free Gnocchi Alla Marie
For the Sauce:
3 x Tablespoons FODMAP friendly garlic infused olive oil
1 x Carrot (peeled and finely chopped)
1 x Red Pepper (finely chopped)
800g Chopped Tomatoes
1 x Cup Red Wine
30g Fresh Basil
80g Smoked Cubed Pancetta
1 x Teaspoon Dried Chives
Salt and Pepper to Taste
For the Gnocchi:
500g Gluten Free Gnocchi
200g Vegan Mozzarella Style Cheese
30g Fresh Chives (finely chopped)
1 x Medium Courgette (diced)
- Heat the FODMAP friendly garlic infused oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the pepper, carrot and cook until soft.
- Add the pancetta and cook through, stirring the mixture frequently.
- When the pancetta is cooked, add the chopped tomatoes, wine, dried chives, salt and pepper and let the sauce cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes.
- While the sauce cooks, preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Boil water in a separate pot. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook for two minutes, draining immediately.
- Place the partially cooked gnocchi in a good sized baking dish and add the vegan mozzarella style cheese (saving a handful for garnish), chives and courgette.
- Add the torn basil to the sauce before transferring it to a blender, or a bowl and then using a hand blender, liquidise until smooth.
- Gently pour the cooked down sauce over the gnocchi mixture and stir evenly. As the sauce tends to cook down even further during the baking process, I tend to use all of it but depending on preference, some sauce can be held back and either refrigerated or frozen for later use.
- Evenly sprinkle the remaining vegan mozzarella style cheese over the top along with some more black pepper.
- Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5-8 minutes before serving. Accompany with mixed leaves.
A piece of my heart will forever be in Buenos Aires – a vibrant, hectic and culturally rich city where I spent almost three years during my twenties. Beyond traditional dishes like Argentine steak and empanadas, much of the country’s cuisine was brought and developed by Italian immigrants who arrived there en masse from the 1850s onwards. A favourite dish of mine was always lasagne, prepared in its own Argentine way and featuring the smoky taste of aji molido (smoked red pepper powder) and black olives which add a natural saltiness and depth to the dish.
After becoming gluten free, I quickly released that coming across a lasagne that was safe for me to eat – in my Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Almagro and beyond – was a rare luxury, not only due to the pasta but also the stock used in the sauce. So, in honour of Coeliac Awareness Week, I have recreated this dish to make it safe for coeliacs to enjoy with friends and family. Thanks to Knorr, who create the best tasting and fuss-free stock I have ever had, this dish is bursting with flavour and completely gluten free. Knorr has been a household name ever since I remember, and I am pleased to shout about its efforts for the gluten free community. Be sure to enjoy this dish with some homemade garlic bread and a glass of strong bodied Malbec for the true Argentine experience.
For the Lasagne Filling:
1 x White Onion (Finely Chopped)
4 x Garlic Cloves
2 x Celery Sticks (Finely Chopped)
1 x Large Carrot (Finely Chopped)
800g Chopped Tomatoes in Juice
500g Lean Minced Beef
400g Gluten Free Sausage Meat or Sausages (Casing Removed)
160g Drained Black Olives
1 x Tablespoon Knorr Rich Beef Concentrated Stock
2 x Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 x Cup Red Wine
½ x Cup Boiling Water
2 x Bay Leaves
½ Teaspoon Dried Basil
½ x Tablespoon Gluten Free Worcestershire Sauce
1 x Teaspoon Aji Molido
250g Gluten Free Lasagne Sheets
300g Fresh Mozzarella (Diced)
100g Parmesan (Grated)
For the Béchamel Sauce:
1 x Tablespoon Butter
1 x White Onion
3 x Cups Milk
3 x Tablespoons Gluten Free Flour
1 x Cup White Wine
½ x Knorr Vegetable Stock Cube
½ x Teaspoon Nutmeg
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a shallow pan over moderate heat. Add the beef and sausage meat to the pan and cook until brown (around 8 minutes), stirring occasionally and at the same time breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.
- Meanwhile, take a separate, good sized cooking pot and warm the rest of the oil over moderate heat before adding the chopped onion, celery, carrot and whole peeled garlic cloves. Stir until all vegetables are soft, taking care to not burn the onion.
- Turn attention back to the meat once cooked through and drain fat. Then add beef to the vegetables, stirring through to make sure all vegetables are evenly dispersed throughout the mixture.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, olives, wine and boiling water to the pot. Stir well.
- Now add the Knorr Rich Beef Concentrated Stock, along with the gluten free Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, dried basil and aji molido before stirring again and leaving to simmer for 30 minutes with a splatter guard covering the top of the pot. This will help the mixture cook down and also protect your surfaces!
- While your lasagne mixture is cooking, start preparing the béchamel by sautéing the finely chopped onion in butter over moderate heat in a medium saucepan.
- When onion is soft, add milk and let the milk almost come to boil (but not quite!) before removing from heat and whisking in the flour. Whisk vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, nutmeg and crumbled Knorr vegetable stock cube and using a hand blender, blend the mixture until smooth.
- Return béchamel to heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. The sauce will still be fairly thin and pale in colour. If you prefer a thicker sauce, add 1 teaspoon of flour and whisk again. However, the consistency should not put you off – it blends beautifully with the lasagne filling during the baking process.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees and start arming your lasagne.
- Take a medium sized lasagne dish and create layers: after removing bay leaves, ladle in one spoon of the meat mixture and smooth out to cover bottom of dish, then lay down lasagne sheets (I tend to use three sheets per layer).
- On top of the lasagne sheets, drizzle one ladle of béchamel sauce and smooth out to just about cover the sheets before adding an even sprinkling of fresh mozzarella and torn basil leaves on top. Repeat, leaving enough béchamel to cover the entire top layer which will then be dusted in grated parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until evenly golden brown.
- Leave to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving and garnish with more fresh basil and mixed leaves.