A great gnocchi recipe is a must in your pasta arsenal. This has to be the quintessential Italian winter soul warmer. Commercial versions of this tend to feellike a squash ball bouncing around your tummy and leave you heavy and couch bound for six hours; but a plate of homemade gnocchi is like eating feather soft, silky, angel’s pillows. This is perfect for Meat Free Mondays too.
I get so envious when watching International cooking shows and the chef advises you to pop down to your local veggie supplier and pick up some Russet potatoes, deemed to be the perfect variety to achieve a for gnocchi making. Blah! It would appear that MY local just sells potatoes. When I enquired as to what ‘variety’ of potatoes was on offer all I got the ‘Eish! I donno …. They are potatoes!” and a sideways glance.
Ideally the potato should by floury with a low water content which is fine if you can find them, but one cannot control when the craving for a bowl of soft white clouds napped with Napoletana or Arrabiata sauce is going to hit can one? Fear not dear friends for there are ways to ‘joek’ the system.
For 6 people
1kg of potatoes
2tsp of salt
Extra flour for your worktop and hands when rolling
Place your potatoes into a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling reduce the heat and
simmer until cooked.
Now, if your potatoes are anything like mine, and they split open all you need do is preheat your
oven to about 100degrees place the potatoes into a roasting pan and place them
into the heated oven for 20 minutes. This will dry out any water that has flooded your poor little potato. Problem solved!
While the potatoes are still hot, peel the skin off.
I find a potato ricer is the very best tool for this job – rice each potato onto a floured
surface. If you don’t have a ricer you can mash the potatoes with a masher – just make sure that you don’t leave any
lumps in the mash.
Make a well in the centre and add your flour, eggs and salt.
Work the dough into a ball with your hands. Don’t be tempted to add more flour to this dough as the potato will gladly suck in more and more
flour! Don’t. You are looking for light, soft dough and want to avoid rubbery gnocchi.
Form the dough into a ball, place onto a floured tea towel, flatten it down and cut it into easily usable chunks.
I do have to warn you that this dough is very soft and it’s not easy to work with. Use plenty of
flour on your hands and work surface,
Pull off enough dough to roll into a snake of about 10cm – roll it between your hands and cut into
small nuggets about 1,5 cm long. Dust each nugget with flour as you go along.
Using a fork – make the impression of the fork on the top of each one.
This is done to give an indented surface for the sauce to sink into ensuring the perfect mouthful of gnocchi and sauce.
Once you have cut them and forked them, move them to a cloth dusted with a little flour to
prevent them from sticking. They do not like to be refrigerated and really are best used fresh.
I know that they feel very soft but they firm up perfectly when you boil them.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add your gnocchi and stir gently.
When they pop up to the surface allow them to cook for one minute then remove using a slotted
spoon. Shake off any excess water and place them into a bowl with 5 serving spoons of your desired sauce.
TrickyRicky got into the kitchen and made a delicious pot of Tomato Arrabiata sauce for this batch
of gnocchi. Arrabiata sauce is made from tomatoes with a hint of chilli and the recipe can be found here.
“Sei un gnocco !”
Is a colloquial Italian expression that means a guy is good looking!!
One thing is for sure that these babies are not only good looking but taste buonissimo too!