Pasta

The Beer Lover's Kitchen: Pumpkin Gnudi with Porcini Broth and 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze

Gnudi are a joy—especially these gnudi, which involve a few cheffy flourishes but remain straightforward to prepare.

If you’re not already acquainted, think of gnudi as standalone ravioli filling (their name—which means "nude"—is a hint that they don't come robed in sheets of pasta dough). You might also consider them cousins of gnocchi, only more pillowy and less troublesome to make. If you want to impress someone with homemade pasta—especially without a pasta roller or other fiddly tools—this is the way to do it.

Gnudi are classically made with ricotta, bound with eggs and flour, and boiled for a few minutes until they gently bob to the water’s surface. To make mine autumnal, I added pumpkin purée and nutmeg to the mix. After cooking in water, they’re toasted in a frying pan with butter and sage leaves. To finish, caramelised onions impart sweetness, porcini broth adds umami depth and Parmigiano Reggiano does both.

Beyond being one of my favourite beers for, well, almost all occasions, 3 Fonteinen's Oude Geuze is also an excellent pairing partner for this dish. Sure, you could well serve pumpkin gnudi alongside a deeper, darker beer—but this masterful geuze, with its baked apple-like sweetness, tart finish, and rustic yeast character, is a lovely fit. And with its fizz, it adds something of a celebratory air, too. All you need now? A crackling fireplace to go with.

Pumpkin Gnudi with Fried Sage, Caramelised Onions and Porcini Broth
Serves 4

For the gnudi:
1 cup (approx. 235g) canned pumpkin puree (I used Libby's)
1 cup (approx. 215g) ricotta
1 cup (approx. 150g) grated Parmigiano Reggiano
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup (approx. 110g) flour (preferably 00-grade)
1/4 cup (approx. 40g) semolina

For the onions:
30g unsalted butter
1 tbs olive oil
2 medium onions

For the broth:
25g dried porcini mushrooms
450ml boiling water
Scant 1/2 tsp sea salt

To serve:
100g unsalted butter
20-30 sage leaves
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

First, make the gnudi. In a food processor, combine the first seven ingredients and blend on low speed until well incorporated. Scrape into a large bowl and add both the 00-grade flour and the semolina. Stir gently until just combined.

Prepare a baking tray: line with a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle over a generous amount of semolina (this will prevent the gnudi from sticking). Next, fill a small bowl with excess semolina (you'll be using this to coat your gnudi, which will also help them hold together).

Use a spoon to scoop out a small amount of dough; roll gently between your palms until it's about 1-inch wide, or the size of a large marble. Place gently in the bowl of semolina and sprinkle semolina over the top so it's full coated. Place on your prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough until all of your gnudi have been formed (pausing to wash and dry your hands from time to time if the dough begins to stick to your palms). Cover loosely with cling film and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, which will help the gnudi set.

Roughly half an hour before you're ready to cook your gnudi, slice the two onions finely. In a medium frying pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook, stirring semi-regularly, for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the onions are soft and deeply caramelised. Remove from the pan and set aside.

As your onions cook, prep your porcini broth. Add the dried porcini mushrooms to a medium bowl and pour over the boiling water. Stir in the salt and set aside for 20-30 minutes. Strain out the mushrooms. You can add these to the final dish if you wish, though I prefer to save them for another occasion.

Remove your gnudi from the fridge. Bring a medium saucepan of well salted water to a boil. Turn down to medium-low heat (you want the water at a gentle simmer). With a slotted spoon, add approximately 12 gnudi, ensuring that the pan is not crowded. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the gnudi gently rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and cover to keep warm. Continue to cook the gnudi in batches.

To finish, melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the boiled gnudi with a slotted spoon and the sage leaves (you may need to do this in two batches, dividing the butter and sage in two as well). Cook for approximately four minutes, turning the gnudi halfway through, or until they are lightly golden, the sage is fried and crispy, and the butter has browned. Remove from heat.

To serve, divide the gnudi between four plates, pouring over the browned butter and sage evenly. Scatter the caramelised onions across, and pour over the broth (enough for the gnudi to sit in, but not so much that they're floating). Top with a generous sprinkle of shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and an all-around lover of tasty things. Follow her on Twitter at @clairembullen, and treat yourself to a bottle of 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze. You're worth it.

The Beer Lover’s Table: Girolle and Truffle Cacio e Pepe and Magic Rock Cannonball IPA

At a recent dinner, I encountered one of the more memorable food and beer pairings I’ve had in recent months. A plate of tagliatelle, covered in pencil shaving-sized flakes of truffle and a snowfall of Parmigiano, was served alongside two malt-driven, West Coast IPAs.

On paper, the combination sounded strange, if not off-putting. But the way the caramel sweetness of the malt tangled with the umami of the pasta was a thrill. Instead of being adversarial, the two drew out the other’s best attributes: savoury and sweet, unctuous and bitter, rich on the plate and full-bodied in the glass.

I decided to try the combination for myself - but with cacio e pepe. Cacio e pepe is having a moment. It helps that this Roman pasta dish - with its simple sauce of olive oil, Pecorino Romano, and copious quantities of black pepper, all bound together by starch-rich pasta water - takes roughly 15 minutes to make. Restaurants like Padella are also heightening its popularity; their toothsome version remains one of London’s most popular pasta dishes.

In tribute to the dying days of summer, I opted to add honey-coloured girolle mushrooms and oil infused with white truffles to my take on cacio e pepe. At the risk of alienating the purists (or gilding the lily), I think it’s a subtly decadent twist on the classic, which imbues it with a hearty base note of umami. To finish it off, a sprinkle of aniseed-bright tarragon imparts an enlivening freshness.

After a long, hazy tsunami of New England-style IPAs, it feels refreshing to return to the West Coast IPA, and its resin, bitterness, and caramel sweetness. Magic Rock's Cannonball is a tried-and- true take on the style, a token from California by way of Huddersfield.

On its own, the beer has a bracing intensity, but the cacio e pepe highlights its sticky marmalade and apricot notes, sweetening and softening it. Its residual bitterness, meanwhile, manages to cut through the orgy of cheese and butter and oil, sharpening the craving for the next mouthful. As far as surprising pairings go, this one is a keeper.

Girolle and Truffle Cacio e Pepe
Serves 2-3

200g girolles
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs white truffle-infused olive oil, divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
250g linguine
Sea salt, to taste
40g unsalted butter
50g finely grated
Pecorino Romano (preferably with a Microplane grater)
10g tarragon, roughly chopped

First, clean the girolles. In lieu of washing them with water—which will cause them to go all soft and spongy—use a pastry brush (or unused toothbrush) to carefully brush off all the dirt, focusing especially on the gills. This process will prevent them from being gritty when cooked.

Set a kettle on to boil. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium- high heat. When hot, add the mushrooms. Cook, tossing the girolles every now and then, for roughly five minutes. Season lightly with sea salt before taking the pan off the heat; remove the girolles from the pan and set aside.

Fill a medium saucepan with boiling water and add a small pinch of sea salt. Add the linguine and cook according to package instructions, or until al dente (I cooked mine for nine minutes; it’s usually a good idea to undercook by one minute from what the package suggests).

As the pasta cooks, add 2 tbs of white truffle-infused olive oil to the same frying pan you used for the girolles, and grind in your black pepper. Heat over medium-low heat for one minute, or just until the mixture starts to warm and become very fragrant. Remove from the heat.

Once the pasta is al dente, drain, being sure to save a large bowl full of the starchy cooking water. Add a good splash—approximately 4-5 tablespoons—to the frying pan with the truffle oil and pepper mixture. Add the butter to the frying pan next, stirring as it melts. Once the butter has melted, add in the cooked linguine, the grated Pecorino Romano, and the remaining 1 tbs white truffle oil. Toss vigorously with tongs or a fork for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the sauce comes together. Your sauce should appear creamy and smooth, and should coat each strand of linguine. You may need to add several more tablespoons of pasta water to achieve the desired consistency.

Serve immediately. Divide the cacio e pepe between plates, and garnish with the tarragon. Top with additional black pepper and grated Pecorino Romano as desired.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up a can of Magic Rock Cannonball all year round in store or at our online shop

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The Beer Lover’s Table: Spring Orecchiette and Cloudwater Bergamot Sour

I look forward to asparagus season like a fan whose favourite band is about to drop a long-awaited new album. I will travel across the city in search of a single bunch of wild garlic. And sweet peas, shorn straight from their pods? For me, that’s an aroma that perfectly telegraphs spring.

After months of darkness and stodge, bright, fresh flavours feel revelatory — and that applies to beer, too. I can’t think of one more appropriate for springtime sipping than Cloudwater’s limited edition Bergamot Sour, which is made following the annual winter harvest of bergamots in Marrakech. The brewery adds the zest and juice of the fruits following fermentation, which preserves their delicate flavour.

Never had bergamots before? You may be more familiar with these hybrid lemon- oranges than you’d think: they’re a key component in Earl Grey tea, for starters. As Cloudwater writes, ‘Bergamots have imparted their unique, fresh, fragrant, and floral flavours’ to this beer. Nose it, and you’ll detect something that’s reminiscent of lemon, but more: more complex, subtler and definitely reminiscent of blossoming things.

To accompany this beer and its refreshing zing, make this springtime pasta. Brilliant green asparagus, peas, and wild garlic are a verdant seasonal trifecta, while goat curd and lemon zest add richness and tang. But it’s the hazelnuts toasted in brown butter - and the smallest dash of lavender - that really make this pasta memorable. If you’re lucky enough to have a sunny balcony or back garden, this recipe is an ideal candidate for al fresco eating.

Spring Orecchiette with Asparagus, Peas, Goat Curd and Brown Butter
Serves 4-6

125g unsalted butter, divided
100g blanched hazelnuts
½ tsp dried lavender
250g asparagus, woody ends removed and sliced in 5cm pieces
200g peas (preferably fresh)
1 small bunch wild garlic
500g orecchiette
Sea salt
125g goat curd
Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper
Zest of one lemon

Add 100g of the butter to a small frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter has just melted, add in the hazelnuts. Cook for approximately three minutes, or until the hazelnuts are toasted; the butter will foam up as it begins to brown. Watch carefully, as it can go from browned to burned very quickly. When it has darkened and smells nutty and toasty, remove from the heat, pouring the mixture into a bowl to help it cool. Add the lavender and stir. Set bowl aside.

Prepare a large saucepan with gently boiling, well-salted water. Add the orecchiette and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until al dente.

As the pasta cooks, heat the remaining 25g butter over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add the asparagus and peas and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until bright green and just tender. Roughly tear the wild garlic leaves and add to the frying pan with the vegetables, stirring until they begin to wilt, approximately 30 seconds. Remove frying pan from the heat.

When the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving approximately 100ml of the cooking water. Add the drained pasta back to the saucepan and tip in the asparagus, peas, and wild garlic mix, tossing to combine. Drain the lavender brown butter from the hazelnuts — keep those in the bowl, for the minute - and into the saucepan, and add 50ml of the pasta liquid and half of the goat curd. Stir until a light sauce forms, adding small amounts of additional cooking water if necessary to help the sauce bind.

Divide the pasta among the plates, topping with dollops of the remaining goat curd, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, freshly grated lemon zest, the toasted hazelnuts and a good sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up some Cloudwater Bergamot Sour while stocks last in store or at our online shop