With a name thought to originate from the Italian word for ‘knuckles’ or the Lombard word for ‘knots of wood’, these little pillows of potato have been around since about the 17th century and we know why they haven’t budged from our culinary repertoire since – they are simply divine. Saveur have written up a gorgeous account of the history of these elegant little mouthfuls and I encourage you to read it because you’ll love them even more.
Not a pasta but a dumpling, gnocchi are a real favourite at home and a repeated request for lessons by students in my private cooking classes. They go with just about any sauce or vegetable and make a great accompaniment to any meat dish too. They can be made small or large depending on the dish. I love to serve them with slow cooked lamb and roasted tomatoes or sautéed greens and tender stem broccoli – whatever is in season and always topped with a generous grating of parmesan cheese.
This recipe is a culmination of my many attempts to find the perfect texture with the easiest method. I hope you enjoy them! I certainly do.
For lessons in hand made pasta and gnocchi, do get in touch and I’ll pop by to teach you all the tricks to this very special dish.
2 large floury potatoes, weighing 450-500g
Tablespoon of rock salt
100g plain flour
Generous pinch of salt
Generous pinch of nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 190C and wash the potatoes. Dry them well and prick a couple of times, then lay each on top of a tablespoon of rock salt and bake in the oven for about an hour. The potato must be cooked completely through.
Take out of the oven and allow to cool just enough so you can handle them. Peel off the skin and push the flesh through a fine sieve into a bowl. Do not over work it. The idea is to get the potato as smooth and light as possible without releasing too much starch. You should end up with about 300-350g worth of potato. Add the egg, flour, salt and nutmeg into the bowl and mix until just combined and smooth. Don’t be tempted to over knead it as it will make it tough. You should end up with a soft dough that isn’t too sticky.
Lightly flour your work surface and lay the dough down, shape it into a square and then cut it into square shaped sausages about 2 centimeters thick. Dust these with flour and cut the rolls into 2 centimeter thick squares and lightly pinch to make pillow shapes. Place the pillows on a flour dusted baking sheet that.
Boil a large pan of water and salt it generously, I always use the salt left over from baking the potatoes. Gently lower the gnocchi into the water and stir gently to make sure they separate. Wait for them to rise to the surface and then allow to simmer for another minute. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce you are using and toss together; or alternatively fry them in a little oil to crisp the outsides first.[SHARE]