"This dish originated through my love of pipis as a kid, and subsequent love of spicy and intense pipi with XO sauce as an adult," says Monty Kulodrovic. "This dish is Italian at heart, yet for me, it also celebrates the freedom we have in Australia to be proud of who we all are, and also who our neighbours are." Begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the shrimp, dry the potato and infuse the herb oil.
- 500 gm rock salt
- 1 kg (about 4) even-sized floury potatoes, such as sebago or King Edward, scrubbed
- 100 gm Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
- 1 large egg (65gm)
- 225 gm “00” flour
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped prosciutto
- 2 black garlic cloves, peeled, coarsely chopped (see note)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 red birdseye chilli, finely chopped
- ½ tsp saffron threads
- 1 kg pipis, soaked in salted water for 1 hour to remove sand, drained
- 200 ml fish stock
- 75 gm butter, diced
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, tarragon and dill
- To serve: small wild leaves (wood sorrel, fat hen or baby nasturtiums; see note)
- To serve: lemon wedges
- ½ cup each (firmly packed) basil and flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped chives
- 75 ml olive oil
- 25 gm dried shrimp with good bright colouring, soaked in 60ml water overnight
- 25 ml olive oil
- 40 gm (¼ cup) capers in vinegar, drained and rinsed
- 20 gm prosciutto, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 golden shallot, finely chopped
- 1 long dried chilli, coarsely chopped
- 1 small fresh bay leaf
- 1 tsp lemon thyme
- 1For herb oil, blanch herbs until bright green (2 minutes), then refresh in iced water. Drain well and squeeze out excess water, then process with olive oil in a blender on high speed until smooth (3 minutes). Cover and refrigerate overnight to infuse, then bring to room temperature and strain through a fine sieve without pushing solids.
- 2Preheat oven to 180C. Spread rock salt on an oven tray and place potatoes on top and bake until very tender when pierced with a skewer (about 1½ hours). Scoop out flesh (discard skins), pass through a potato ricer or sieve and refrigerate to cool (about 2 hours).
- 3For spice paste, drain shrimp, reserving 2 tbsp liquid, coarsely chop and set aside. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add shrimp and fry, scraping it from base, until just toasted (3-4 minutes). Add capers, prosciutto, garlic, shallot, chill and herbs, and sauté until shallot is soft (3-4 minutes). Add reserved liquid and cook until evaporated (30 seconds to 1 minute). Discard bay leaf and process sauce in a small blender until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- 4Combine potato, parmesan, egg and 200gm flour in a bowl, season to taste with nutmeg and sea salt, then mix well, adding remaining flour as necessary to form a smooth dough (depending on dryness of potato, you might not need extra flour). Turn out onto a lightly floured bench, roll dough into 1.5cm-thick ropes and cut into 1.5cm pieces, dust with flour and place on a lightly floured tray.
- 5Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add prosciutto, black and fresh garlic, chilli, saffron and spice paste, stir to combine, then add pipis and fish stock, cover and cook until pipis open (3-4 minutes). Remove pipis and set aside. Stir butter into sauce along with herbs, season to taste, then brush pipi flesh with a little sauce. Keep pipis and sauce warm separately.
- 6Cook gnocchi in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until they float (2-3 minutes). Transfer to sauce with a slotted spoon and toss gently to coat (10-20 seconds). Spoon gnocchi onto warm plates, arrange pipis on top, scatter with wild leaves, dot with herb oil and serve with lemon wedges.
Note Black garlic, which has been aged and fermented, is available from select grocers and online at tasmanianblackgarlic.com.au. The availability of wild leaves depends on your location. Nasturtium leaves are available from select greengrocers and may need to be ordered ahead. Substitute young green salad leaves.
Drink Suggestion: “A fresh, minerally, juicy Quantico Etna Bianco DOP with hints of preserved lemon, fennel and chamomile is big enough to stand up to the fragrance and spice of the sauce, while adding freshness,” says Monty Kulodrovic.