Monday, December 18, 2006

Gnocchi

Made Potato Gnocchi the other night. It's one of my favourites! The good thing about it is you can make extra and freeze them (free flow) for those "can't-be-bothered-cooking" days. Making gnocchi is a bit time consuming, so take a seat and enjoy the process.

1 potato per person (use a floury potato - Agria seems to give the best results for me, but I've used Rua with success too)
Flour
Egg *
salt & pepper
little bit of ground nutmeg

1. Boil the potatoes in their skins until cooked. Boiling in their skins keeps them from getting water-logged.
2. Allow to cool slightly.
3. Cut in half and push through a potato ricer. Using a potato ricer will give you the best results because it doesn't break up the potato cells to release their starch making a glutinous, heavy texture. If you don't have a potato ricer, try pushing the potato through a large holed grater or colander.
4. Add salt & pepper, nutmeg to taste.
5. Add an egg and stir it all together. If you're making this for more than 5 people I'd add another egg.
6. Now add flour. I can't give you exact amounts because I do this bit "by feel". Basically, you add flour and knead it in until the dough feels velvety. You should be able to grab a bit of dough and roll it between your hands to make a "snake" without it falling apart.
7. On a floured board, roll out lots of dough "snakes" about 1.5 cm thick. Cut into 1 cm "pillows" and roll these into little balls.
8. Take a ball and press it onto the tines of a fork. Peel it off the times towards you so you have a kind of ridged grub. Place these on a floured tray.
9. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, and turn down the heat so it's at a gentle simmer. Drop in the gnocchi one by one. When they rise to the surface, skim them off with a slotted spoon into a serving dish.
10. Pour over your pasta sauce of choice and enjoy!

* Gnocchi can be made without eggs for those who have egg-free households. They don't freeze as well as the egg ones though. If you do want to freeze non-egg gnocchi, you will have to place them still frozen into the sauce and warm the whole thing in the oven. If you use boiling water they will disintegrate. Egg-free gnocchi are best with simple sauce flavourings like melted butter and sage leaves.

I made a tomato sauce to have these because it is lower in fat. This sauce can be made in bulk and frozen into useful serving portions too. You can use fresh tomatoes to make the sauce but it will take longer to reduce, and you will probably want to skin the tomatoes first.

400g can of tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic
fresh herbs to flavour eg. oregano, rosemary, basil
bit of tomato paste
slosh of olive oil

Put the tomato, garlic and herbs into a pot and blend with a stick-blender (or puree it all in a food processor before putting it into a pot).
Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer to reduce the sauce. Stir reasonably frequently. This sauce tends to "spit" so I keep the lid half over it to stop it making too much of a mess. When it's reduce to a thick sauce, add the tomato paste and olive oil. Pour over the gnocchi and serve with lashings of parmesan. Yum!

Blue Cheese Sauce

Melt together a wedge of blue cheese with a 300ml bottle of cream and a tablespoon of butter. Lovely rich and fattening!

4 comments:

  1. They sound super yummy! Thanks for the tips for the egg free version - maybe I will give them a try :)
    Great to see you are holding together well too!

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  2. yummmy I might have to have a go at making that over the summer break....

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  3. mmmmm, blue cheese. TFS

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  4. Tried them today--what a hearty and delicious treat--thank you for sharing your recipe. I didn't have a potato ricer, though, and so I ended up with the peelings in the gnocchi, and they were a bit heavy and oddly shaped. My family still liked them--I served them with a red sauce and with an Alfredo sauce featuring my homemade pesto, made from the basil in my garden (now covered with snow already). I dug the potatoes for this dish out of the garden from under the snow this morning.

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