Learn the art of making gnocchi at next month's Hunter Harvest

HANDS ON: Il Cacciatore will hold live cooking demonstrations at Westfield Kotara on September 2 as part of Hunter Harvest.
HANDS ON: Il Cacciatore will hold live cooking demonstrations at Westfield Kotara on September 2 as part of Hunter Harvest.

There is a knack for making gnocchi from scratch and Il Cacciatore executive chef Noreen Gottaas will be sharing all the tricks of the trade at the second annual Hunter Harvest on September 2.

The pop-up event at Westfield Kotara brings the best of the Hunter Valley to the city and celebrates the region’s premium wineries, breweries and local food producers.

Gottaas, who runs Il Cacciatore at Hermitage Lodge in Pokolbin with her husband Mark, crafts the restaurant’s Northern Italian-inspired menu. Seafood, veal, chicken, house-made pastas, gnocchi, polenta, parmesan and balsamic vinegar all play a major part.

“The secret to good gnocchi is in the potatoes. They must be dry, like Desiree,” Gottaas told Food & Wine. 

“Once you know the secrets it seems an easy dish to make, however the secrets are in the details.”

Gottaas and her team have experimented with many different gnocchi flavours over the years. 

“At the moment we have a pan-fried gnocchi with braised beef cheeks, pumpkin, mushrooms and baby spinach but we recently served a pumpkin gnocchi with slow-cooked goat which proved very popular,” she said.

“Another delicious dish is prawn and asparagus gnocchi with a lemon and garlic-chili butter sauce. The secret to all these dishes is that the gnocchi is tossed in a pan to ‘toast’ it which adds a little colour. As a result, it adds a nutty flavour and some texture to the dish.”

Il Cacciatore will hold live cooking demonstrations at Westfield’s centre court on September 2. At 10.45am and 11.30am you can learn how to make your own pasta, and at 12.15pm there will be a gnocchi-making demonstration. 

For the wine enthusiast there will be a number of wine appreciation workshops happening throughout the day on Level 2 including an organic wine and chocolate masterclass with Tamburlaine Organic Wines; a bubbles workshop with Peterson House; a varietal masterclass with Margan Family Wines; a wine flight workshop with Allandale Winery; and a varietal snapshot with Pepper Tree Wines winemaker Alex Duff. Seats are limited and bookings to these masterclasses are required.

There will be plenty on offer for Father’s Day, too, with Murray’s Brewing Co and Peterson Cider House offering a range of beers and ales for dads to try.