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    Capunsei Mantovani – Stale bread gnocchi with Grana Padano Riserva, butter and sage

    Group 393


    Group 382

    5 people


    40 min

    Chef Danilo Cortellini

    A medieval recipe with a 1000 years old cheese!
    Yes, you heard correctly, this recipe, or at least the first version of it, has been known in the area of Mantova since the high medieval era and the Grana Padano cheese used for it, it said to be even older. The history tell us that in 1135, monks in the Chiaravalle Abbey, in Milan when in search for methods to store for longer the abundant fresh milk they produced, they started to cook and experiment with it, it was then that this lovely hard cheese with milky notes, that develop and mature with time was born.

    Since then, the product has changed and the production method has been refined, but the spirit behind it is always the same, preserving the local traditions creating an authentic product.


    • 500 gr of bread crumbs (from blitzed stale bread)
    • 300 ml of warm broth (vegetarian or chicken)
    • 2 eggs
    • 100 gr of melted butter
    • 60 gr of grated Grana Padano Riserva
    • Salt and nutmeg to taste
    • 100 gr of unsalted butter to dress it
    • 1 sprig of sage
    • Extra Grana Padano to sprinkle over.


    STEP 1

    Mix the breadcrumbs with the broth than incorporate the beaten eggs, the melted butter, the Grana Padano Riserva and season with a little salt and grated nutmeg. Mix well until you have a sort of smooth and slightly pliable dough.
    At this stage it is important to wrap it in film and let it rest in the fridge for a couple of hourse.
    The resting will allow the dough to combine well and keep together when shaping the Capunsei.

    STEP 2

    Now with slice the dough and with the palm of your hands roll the pieces into logs or tubes of about 2 cm in diameter. Be mindful as if overworked and heated, the dough will start to crumble.
    With the help of a knife cut the dough tubes into little gnocchi, about 3 cm long, and set them aside on a tray.

    STEP 3

    Now, you can either cook the Capunsei in a pot of salted boiling water or like I like to do, in a pot of seasoned broth. Drop them in when boiling and let them cook for a few minutes until the float to the surface. Drain them with a slotted spoon and get ready to dress them.

    STEP 4

    In a separate pan, melt the butter, add the sage leaves and cook until crispy. At this stage I like to remove the sage and take the butter to higher temperatures at a brown level. Drop the Capunsei into the brown butter and fry for a couple of minutes on sustained heat mixing every now and then to impart color and flavour to your gnocchi.

    STEP 5

    Now plate in pasta bowls, sprinkle some more grated Grana Padano and a touch of optional black pepper and garnish with the crispy sage leaves.

    Chef’s tip

    I invite you to give this rustic and simple bread gnocchi recipe a go and to use Grana Padano Riserva aged over 20 months to enrich it. It is also a great way to re-use stale old bread, our ancestors always knew better!