The first time I tried Gnocchi my teeth were pasted together for the rest of the day. Gruesome balls of inedible stodgy dough. This resulted in me ignoring these little dumplings for way too long, until lately.
At my newest, latest favourite Italian restaurant, I wasn’t hungry (thus is a rarity, believe me), so I took the plunge and ordered gnocchi with a wild mushroom and pine nut butter. Divine. Even though they were ultra light and more-ish, I could only consume six of the beauties. This I blame on lightheadedness from lack of oxygen due to my rib crushing spanx.
Note to self: Light the sitting room stove tonight with said spanx.
So gnocchi were the next big challenge.
Apart from 6 baskets of patient laundry.
…..and a dog bath
Photography & dog bathing simultaneously is a skill I have yet to master…
So, what was this gnocchi secret?
A potato ricer. Or if you haven’t got one, like me, just mash the potatoes, being careful not to overwork and create a starchy mix. I used leftover leek mash without butter or milk to make mine, but bake or boil fresh potatoes either.
These little potato dumplings are not far removed from potato cakes, so if you have ventured in making the latter, you will be surprised how easy gnocchi is. Just be ready with lots of flour to prevent sticking and you can freeze any excess for a fast last-minute dinner.
You Will Need -
3 medium potatoes, boiled or baked with skin peeled
2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
To Do -
Boil the potatoes, or bake and remove skin. Leave to go cold.
Put them through a potato ricer or just mash by hand, being careful not to overwork. Make sure it is lump and bump free though.
By hand or with the paddle attachment of a food processor beat the potatoes lightly for a few minutes with the other ingredients adding the flour in 4 stages. Mix well. If the potatoes are still too wet add 1 tbsp flour and mix again.
On a floured surface place the dough making a couple of fist sized balls.
Gently roll out into an oblong shape.
Cut the strip into 1/4″ little dumplings.
Sprinkle with flour and lay them flat so they don’t stick together.
Refrigerate for a half hour if you have time.
Don’t get over excited yet, you still have to cook them!
Bring to the boil a large pot of water.
Cook the gnocchi 20 at a time.
When the first one or two dumplings float take them all out with a slotted spoon.
Melt 50g of butter with a teaspoon of olive oil and 1 clove of finely chopped garlic or dried wild garlic in a pan over a low to medium heat. Cook for two minutes. Don’t let the butter burn.
Add 1/4 tsp chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Drizzle this over the gnocchi with freshly milled black pepper and parmesan.