Hyatt's Italian Chef Debiprasad Rath shares recipe for Gnocchi and Seadas
Now, who doesn’t love Italian cuisine? While most stick to conventional pizzas and pastas, Hyatt Regency Kolkata’s Chef Debiprasad Rath, Chef de Cuisine at La Cucina, pushes one to go beyond the usual. The chef not only offers authentic Italian cuisine, like gnocchi and Seadas from various parts of Italy, but also offers his vast knowledge about the various kinds of cheese and its preparation method as well stories behind the dishes like Condoti Pizza, which is named after a street in Rome (Via Condotti), and he credits it all to his inquisitive attitude.
Interestingly, the chef who hails from Bhubaneshwar, Orissa never wanted to be a chef in the first place, but decided to pursue Hotel Management alongside his friends. After his degree, he worked briefly in India before moving to Dubai, which is where he fell in love with food, especially Italian cuisine, all thanks to his guru, Chef Stefano Viola who he says, ‘held my hand and taught me everything’. What’s even more interesting is that his mother, for whom he returned to India after spending over a decade all over the world, doesn’t even know that he is a chef. “She thinks I do some work in a hotel,” he says with a laugh. But back to his culinary skills, guests will soon be able to learn directly from him under Hyatt’s Cook with Chef classes, which are open to members of Hyatt Dining Club for free.
500 gms baked potatoes | 1/2 cups unbleached white flour | 1/2 teaspoon salt | 20 gms Parmesan cheese | A dash of grated nutmeg | 2 tbsp chopped parsley | 1 egg | Salt and pepper to taste
■ Peel the potatoes, cut them in quarters, cover them with cold water, and bring to a boil. Afterwards, reduce heat, cover and cook until tender. Drain and mash. You should have about two cups.
■ In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, egg, nutmeg and the chopped parsley. Add warm potatoes.
■ Now, knead just until dough is well mixed and not sticky. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
■ Roll the chunks of dough on floured board into logs about 1 inch thick.
■ Cut them into diagonal slices about 3/4 inches thick.
■ Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the sliced gnocchi.
■ After they rise to the surface, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.
■ Drain well, and add your favourite pasta sauce.
Seadas (Sardinian Dessert)
100 gms all purpose flour | 100 gms semola di grano duro flour | 40 gms lard | 2 tsp sugar | 1/2 tsp salt | 1 cup cold water
Cheese (pecorino, taleggio, grated mozzarella), orange zest, lemon zest, figs, corbezzolo honey.
For frying: Peanut oil or lard.
■ Mix the two flours together with salt and sugar. Add the lard and knead with your hands until mixed in. It should look like small peas. Don’t over mix.
■ Add cold water, up to a cup, just until the dough comes together.
■ Wrap it in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for about an hour.
■ Grate the cheese and mix it with about 2 tsp honey, if desired.
■ Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick (do this in batches, keeping the rest of the dough cold). Cut into small disks using a 2.5-inch
■ Place about a teaspoon of cheese in the centre of half the disks. Wet the edges with a bit of water, then place another disk on top, pressing down the edges with your fingers. Using a fork to press the edges (docking) while making sure that you don’t pierce the seadas with the tines.
To fry: Bring a pan with at least 3 inches of peanut oil or lard to high heat. When hot (you can test with a bit of dough), slip in the seadas. Fry until golden on the outside, turning at least once. Remove with a slotted spoon and blot on paper towels. You can eat as is (since there is honey inside already) but it is even better to place it on a plate and drizzle with honey. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Note: If you are making these for dessert, prepare them at the very last minute, and eat while piping hot. Otherwise, the cheese becomes hard.