As applies to most Italian food, gnocchi are surprisingly easy to make. They are just a combination of floury potatoes, flour and eggs. When it comes to serving them, we most often eat them with a sauce made from double cream, and a blue cheese such as gorgonzola, or a local equivalent (for me a mild Stilton). Yesterday however, we had them baked with a tomato sauce (see right hand menu), torn mozarella, and generous amounts of parmesan grated over the top. To say they tasted delicious is an understatement.
For this particular blog, because I think the process warrants it, I have included some additional photo's to assist.
4 medium sized potatoes, any floury types.
100g plain flour
1 medium sized egg
salt and pepper to season.
-Place your potatoes unpeeled (VERY important not to peel them) into a medium sized pan, filled with cold water, place onto high heat and cook for around 20-30 minutes until tender. Be careful not to break the skin, or poke them too many times with a fork. We want to keep all the starch inside the potato.
- Once the potatoes are drained and cooled down sufficiently, very carefully remove the skins, chunk the potatoes and pass them through a potato ricer (shown above). It might be an idea to pass them a couple of times to make sure they are ultra smooth, and light.
- Form the riced potatoes into a mound, and break an egg into the center. Next add three quarters of the flour, season with salt and pepper, and combine the mixture into a dough on a floured surface. Add extra flour as you go, until you get a firmish dough but still slightly moist. It is important not to handle the mix too much, but do make sure its nicely combined and holding together well.
- Once happy with the mixture, flour the surface and dough lightly and mix into an oval, and cut into two pieces as above. Next roll the halves into sausages, approximately an inch in diameter.
- Take each sausage and cut into inch blocks, and then on the back of a fork gently roll them to get a thumb indent on one side, and a rolled look on the other. Don't worry you do not have to be too precise. This is home cooked Italian food, not a Michelin starred restaurant. Lightly flour the gnocchi, and put to one side.
-Next bring some water to a boil in a large pan, lightly salt, and drop the gnocchi into the pan. As soon as they start to float, wait about a minute. Then with a slotted spoon scoop them out, and serve as soon as possible.
Gnocchi are fantastic served in a variety of ways, some of which include sage butter, with a freshly made basil pesto, or as mentioned baked in the oven with mozeralla, tomato sauce, and lots of parmesan. Another great idea is to gently heat some double cream in frying pan, and then slowly crumble into it a gorgonzola cheese, or a medium tasting blue equivalent, once melted pour over the gnocchi. Enjoy!