I never quite understand the fuss about gnocchi. My first experience had been a starchy, floury thing that made me full after eating a half dozen or so. There had been a number of times when I stared resentfully at a plateful of gnocchi after a few bites and wonder how anyone can finish this impossible dish.
It’s only recently that I realised that good gnocchi is not starchy or floury. The basis of a good gnocchi is the potatoes you use. Potatoes with high water content will need more flour when you knead the dough. What I love about this recipe is that by baking the potatoes first gets rid of the excess moisture. What you have left is all potatoes and very little water.
The gnocchi recipe came from Alessandro Pavoni’s of Ormeggio’s fame. I attended one of his cooking classes a few weeks ago and can’t help to try recreate a veg version of his squid ink gnocchi. You can make larger gnocchi, but I love these bite sized versions. One or two is the perfect size for your fork. Serve with a glass of white, I recommend Houghton’s White Classic as my tipple of choice for a fuss free night in.
I feel like I have to apologise for last week’s missing entry. Truth be told, my Meatless Monday recipe did not pass the food styling criteria. Tasted fine, but looking at the rather sorry mess I will have to start over and reshoot the dish at a later date.
- 560g russett or kipfler potatoes
- Rock salt for baking potatoes
- 80g cornflour, sifted plus extra for dusting
- 50g Grana Padano freshly grated
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 egg yolk
- 100g butter
- 20 sage leaves
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- Scrub potatoes thoroughly then place potatoes on a bed of rock salt on a baking tray and bake for 1 – 1.5 hours, until a wooden skewer can be inserted without any resistance
- Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes then pass through a potato rice onto a clean, dry work bench lightly dusted with cornflour
- Spread on the bench and leave to cool for a few minutes
- Sprinkle the cornflour, Grana, salt and nutmeg over the top and place egg yolk in the centre
- Work together with a pastry scraper and your hands until the dough just comes together, don’t overwork it, add a little more cornflour if it is moist
- Shape into 4cm long cigars, cut into 1cm thick slices and roll them gently to make them round. Set aside on a corn-flour dusted tray.
- Using a frying pan, melt the butter on low heat and then add the sage leaves. Wait until butter browns and the sage leaves becomes crispy.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add gnocchi and cook until they float. Note this happens very quickly!
- Skim gnocchi out of the water as soon as they float and add them to the butter sauce. Pan fry the gnocchi until they turn slightly brown, serve with grated Grana.