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Gnocchi con Granseola

This incredible Italian recipe for gnocchi with spider crab is from Rick Stein's BBC Venice to Istanbul series. It's a flavour-packed Venetian classic and perfect for a dinner party.

From the book


A classic Venetian dish, granseola is actually spider crab meat. This is hard to come by so do feel free to use white crab meat instead. The flavour that makes this dish for me is the Byzantine spice mix.

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For the gnocchi:
225g floury potatoes in their skins
80g plain flour
½ egg, beaten (20g)
For the crab sauce:
75ml olive oil
½ small onion, grated
5g / 1 clove garlic, grated
pinch chilli flakes
¼ tsp Byzantine spice mix (see instructions)
300ml prawn stock (see instructions)
20g butter
Small handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
200g white crab meat


For the Byzantine Spice Mix: Grind 1 slice nutmeg, a pinch of corriander seeds, 4 cloves, 1cm cinnamon stick, a pinch of ground ginger, seeds of 1 green cardamom pod, 1/8 tsp tumeric and 1/8 tsp chilli powder with a pestle and mortar or in an electric grinder.

Make the prawn stock by heating 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and adding 3g or a small clove of garlic and 250g shell-on prawns (or heads and shells). Stir-fry for a couple of minutes before adding 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1/2 tsp salt and 300ml water. Cook for 10 minutes, then passs through a sieve, pushing down on the shells to extract as much of the prawn flavour as you can. Discard the shells and set the stock aside.

For the gnocchi, first heat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Bake the potatoes for 50 minutes until very soft, then leave to cool. Scoop the flesh from the skins and mash it or pass through a potato ricer. Mix it with the flour,¼ teaspoon of salt and the egg to make a firm dough.

Roll the mixture into 1cm-thick sausages, then cut into 2cm lengths. Boil in salted water for 3 minutes, until they rise to the surface, while you start to make the sauce. When cooked, drain and keep warm while you finish the sauce.

Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until soft, then add the chilli flakes and spice mix and stir for 1 minute. Add the prawn stock, bring to a simmer to reduce down a little, then whisk in the knob of butter. Fold in the parsley and crab meat and pour over the cooked gnocchi.


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From the book: Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul

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