A plate of gnocchi is one of my favourite dishes. I’ve had many sub par plates in my time and I honestly feel like I’ve won the jackpot when I get a serve of pillowy-soft gnocchi that is neither gummy nor little hard bullets.
Gnocchi wasn’t something I ate much as a child. My mum or family never made it, that I knew of, which makes sense if you look at the history of gnocchi (Saveur has an interesting article) as it is thought to be more of a Northern Italian dish and my dad is from the south.
Because I’d had a few negative experiences with gnocchi (totally regret the supermarket packages I’ve bought!) I’ve always thought it difficult to make and get the texture right. I spotted a course run by The Lunch Lady Anelis Jordan late last year and jumped at the opportunity to join in. It was a nice, small group of really interesting foodies that took part and Anelis and her hubby were gorgeous teachers who felt more like friends. They made the whole process seem really easy and I left the course feeling like I could certainly try the gnocchi out myself at home.
As of today, I’ve made it a few times. The first it was a little lumpy due to not having a potato ricer and the kids were not overly impressed with the final product. The second time, after purchasing a ricer, the kids went back for seconds and thirds and that was a big reason to blog this recipe for you.
Sauce options for gnocchi of course are endless. We like a plain tomato sauce but bolognese would work well along with a simple burnt butter and sage. Hubby has asked for blue cheese and walnuts next time!
Recipe courtesy of The Lunch Lady, Anelis Jordan
Serves two adults and two young children
1 kilo starchy potatoes, such as Desiree or Royal Blue
2 teaspoons salt
200g ricotta (from the deli)
280g plain flour, sifted
Place your potatoes in a large pot of salted, cold water. Bring to the boil with the lid and once boiling, remove the lid and cook until tender – you should be able to push a skewer in to the centre of a potato easily. Drain and allow to cool until you are able to handle them with your hands, then peel off the skin. Mash your potatoes or put them through a ricer. I have done both and prefer the ricer – you are less likely to get lumps.
To the mashed potatoes add the salt and ricotta and mix gently but well. Add the flour and egg and again mix gently but well. At this point, put a large pot of salted water on to boil – this is for cooking your gnocchi.
Put some flour down onto your work bench. Divide your dough into 4-5 balls. Take one ball and roll into a snake shape. Cut your snake into 2cm pieces and roll each piece into a ball. If you have a gnocchi board use it to roll your gnocchi balls or use to a fork to create a little pattern. Place gnocchi on a tray while you continue making more gnocchi with the remaining dough balls.
To cook, place a plate full (I do about eight at a time) of gnocchi into the pot of boiling water very carefully so as not to splash yourself. Give the water a quick stir. Cook for around 2 minutes or until the gnocchi floats to the surface. Remove at once to a plate or bowl ready for serving with your favourite sauce.
Any left over gnocchi should be frozen on a tray and then placed in a bag to use another day. Frozen gnocchi can be cooked the same way as fresh.