Ingredients for the sauce (Serves 10)
150g pancetta, finely chopped
3 whole carrots
3 sticks of celery
500g dried borlotti beans (1kg if cooked), soaked overnight
300ml red wine
250g chopped tomatoes (use tinned if required)
1 litre light chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic
70ml olive oil
1tbsp of chopped parsley
2 sprigs rosemary
Freshly milled pepper
Drain the soaked beans and rinse well. Place in a heavy-bottomed pot and set to cook over a gentle heat. Let them cook for one-and-a-half hours until cooked, longer if required.
Finely chop (or blend in a food processor) the carrots, celery, onions and garlic, and fry them gently in a large pan with the butter and oil. Add the finely chopped pancetta. Allow to cook for about 30 minutes without colouring, then add the rosemary and chopped parsley.
Add the wine and mix altogether, then add the tomatoes and chicken stock.
Add a little salt and pepper. Leave to cook over a low heat for an hour. Add the cooked beans and keep stirring occasionally.
Add stock as necessary to stop the sauce drying out.
Ingredients for the Pisarei
550g white flour
350g stale breadcrumbs
125ml boiling water
Pinch of salt
1tbsp olive oil
Mix the flour and the breadcrumb well. Pour in the water and mix well. Work the dough as it will be stiff, tending towards unwieldy. Roll the dough out into a long, thin cylinder roll, about 1cm in diameter. With your thumb press down along the roll to break off shapes, about 1.5 cm long with little tapered ends, "as if you were sticking down stamps" in the words of Franco Rossi.
To finish, purée one third of the sauce in a liquidiser and return to the pot. If too thick, the gnocchini will restore the consistency.
Place a large pot of water to boil, and tip in the gnocchini with a spoonful of salt. Boil for only a minute, then drain.
The gnocchini should then be placed into the sauce for just under five minutes at the end. Allow the whole dish to cool slightly before serving with Parmesan cheese grated liberally over the top.
Thanks to Jeremy Lee, head chef of the Blue Print Café, for testing this recipe from Franco Rossi. Thanks also go to Fabio Manara from L'Unico Musetti for translating.