I tried gnocchi for the first time recently in a local restaurant and thought it was brilliant. Little tattie dumplings covered in cheese and garlic, awesome. As far as culinary revelations go I’m sure you’re picking your jaw off the floor as you read this, but put trust me, they’re the future!
OK, so I’m a bit behind the curve. I guess there’s always a first time to taste something even if it’s as common as gnocchi. But after trying it a few months ago I decided I thought I should have a bash at making it myself. It seemed simple enough; mix some tatties, flour and an egg, knead into a dough and then chop into the little dumplings and boil for a few minutes. How hard could that be?
The answer, of course, is not very difficult but very hard work! Especially if you make the mistake of trying to pass the potatoes through a sieve. If you’re thinking of doing that, don’t! It’s not worth it. Go buy a potato ricer or a packet of ready-made gnocchi instead. It took forever to squish it through the sieve with a wooden spoon. By which point my arms were very tired and I was fed up of the whole thing.
Thankfully once I’d done that life got a lot easier. The dough was simple and once rolled into a sausage, cut into chunks and then gently pushed onto a fork they really looked the part. Then the best bit about gnocchi, it tells you when it’s cooked! You just plonk them in boiling water and when they float to the surface they’re done. No excuses for overcooking.
I served it with a spicy tomato sauce that was a little bit too hot. Should have de-seeded the chilli first I think.
For the gnocchi:
250g plain flour
For the sauce:
1 tin of tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
Peel the tatties (a lot of recipes say boil them in the skins but I don’t see what difference it makes) and boil in salted water for 15 minutes until soft.
While the tatties are cooking get the sauce on.
Heat a saucepan and pour in a tin of chopped tomatoes, the garlic, chilli, oregano, salt and pepper.
Leave the sauce to simmer gently while you finish the gnocchi.
Drain and return to the heat to dry off.
Now you need to mash the tatties and there can’t be any lumps. Use a potato ricer or some other method but don’t bother passing it through a sieve unless you have strong arms and a lot of time.
Combine the flour, tatties and egg in a large bowl and mix into a dough.
Turn it onto a floured work surface and knead for a couple of minutes.
Roll the dough into a long, thin sausage (you might have to do this in a couple of sections) and cut into pieces about 3 cm long.
Using your thumb, gently press the gnocchi pieces onto the back of a fork.
Place them in salted boiling water for a few minutes. The gnocchi is cooked when it floats to the surface and you can remove it with a slotted spoon then set aside to dry off.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the sauce and finish with some chopped basil.
Mix the gnocchi into the sauce to heat through and then serve.