Posted: 24th July 2011
Head Chef Will Carvalho’s recipe of the month
I must say gnocchi is one of my favourite things to make. I never get tired of creating the flavourful knots of handmade potato dumplings. Although the method is the same every time you make fresh gnocchi, many factors such as seasonality can somewhat dictate the process in which the recipe comes together especially with the type of potatoes used.
Home-made fresh gnocchi is truly delicious and much easier to prepare than you might think. If you’re short of time, shop-bought, vacuum-packed ones are fine to serve with a classic sauce like the one below. Better yet, challenge yourself by following my simple instructions to make your own. You will definitely impress your friends and family with this famous Italian dish.
Classic Italian sauce
400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 spring rosemary or thyme, or a couple of bay leaves
Pinch of crushed chillies (optional)
60g/2¼oz packet wild rocket
Freshly made gnocchi
600 grams /1lb 2oz waxy potatoes such as red skins , red Desirees are the best ones
40 grams of golden cross goat’s cheese, crumbled
200 grams of plain flour
1 egg yolk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Begin by making the sauce. Place the tomatoes in a small pan, then half fill the can with water and add that to the pan. Stir in the shallot, garlic, herbs, chillies and salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for at least an hour until thickened and dark red.
- Meanwhile, to make the gnocchi, roast the potatoes for 40 minutes, at 160 degrees.
- Mash them well – this bit is important because lumps will be noticeable in the gnocchi, so use a potato ricer if you have one, or mash the potatoes thoroughly to as smooth a texture as possible.
- Sprinkle over the goat’s cheese, plenty of salt and black pepper and the flour. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, bring together to make a firm dough.
- Knead the dough gently for a couple of minutes then roll out into sausages about 1cm (0.5in) thick. Cut the sausages into pieces 2.5cm (1in) long.
- Gently cook the gnocchi in a pan of simmering water for a minute or two until they rise to the surface. Scoop them out as they rise, toss with the tomato sauce and rocket leaves and serve.
The tomato sauce is just one option. Gnocchi is a very versatile dish that has the capacity to compliment to any flavours you like. Perhaps use the gnocchi only as a garnish with fish and a creamy sauce, or simply serve the gnocchi as a side with roast lamb. Be creative and feel free to put your own twist on the dish!