Gnocchi are gorgeous, pillowy-soft little morsels. They’re made with potato and flour so are the carbohydrate part of your dish. You can make them without the egg (then making them vegan) but in my trials I do think they benefit from the addition of the protein for their structure.
For me gnocchi are a great additional to your cooking repertoire, as they are another carbohydrate type for your meal and provide yet another choice in cooking potatoes.
Some say these are pasta. They’re certainly a pasta shape and there are some regional pastas, such as rascatielli from Puglia, that have potato in them but potato in a pasta shape is usually just a proportion in comparison with the flour. In gnocchi the potato is the majority ingredient. Whatever your thinking on this (could this be the next jam or cream on scones first debate!?) they’re certainly an excellent source of carbohydrate and a real change from other methods of cooking potatoes or using pasta in a dish.
During this time of lockdown cooking and being frugal with what you have, it may seem wasteful that you are using additional flour and egg, rather than just cooking baked potatoes. However, it does make the potatoes go much further as not only does it add to the whole ingredients, it also helps the potatoes fluff up a little. Nutritionally, it adds protein and further carbohydrate too. Also consider that baked potatoes are rarely eaten without butter and mash can have butter, milk or cream and/or cheese added to it.
Enough for four people.
It’s difficult to halve this recipe as it has an entire egg in it, but you can make all the gnocchi and then freeze half:
❄️ Freezing tips – Freeze the gnocchi in one layer on a tray, not bunched up together. when frozen they can then be placed in a bag or tub together. Do not thaw – just use them straight from the freezer (if you thaw them first they will go mushy)
Cooking time: Takes about 1 hour 40 minutes, however there’s only about 30 minutes of activity! 1 hr 10 of this is just the potatoes baking in the oven
Serve with any sauce or ragu that you would make for pasta. Goes particularly well with cheese or rich tomato sauces. Also you can just fry them off in herbed oil as a cicchetto (Italian tapa).
- Baking tray
- A large bowl
- Sharp small knife
- Cutting board
- A couple of clean tea towels
- Butter pats, garganelli board or a fork with long tynes (not essential but used to give the ridges)
- Baking tray
- Pastry cutter, sharp large knife or a sturdy fork (Don’t use a masher)
To cook – either:
- Large frying pan (skillet) and olive oil, with a slotted spatula or;
- Large saucepan with boiling salted water and a sieve/scoop
Ingredients – gnocchi
- 1 kg of Maris piper or similar potatoes
- 1 medium egg
- 200g flour (ideally 00 type but normal plain flour will do, and you can substitute cornflour or other gluten free flour if you prefer)
- 5 g Salt
- Extra flour for dusting
- Turn your oven on to 180C fan / 200C conventional (this is about gas mark 3)
- Finely dice the shallots, garlic and celery and fry gently in a little oil in the casserole dish or sauté pan. Put the lid on and leave at a low heat for about 10 minutes
- Put the potatoes on a baking tray and put them in the oven. Pierce the skin once or twice on each potato. It is crucial that you do oil the potatoes – you need to dry them out. Set the timer for one hour
- After an hour has elapsed since you put the potatoes in the oven, it is now time to get them out: they should be nice and crispy
- Cut each potato in half and allow the steam to escape for a few minutes
- Scoop the potato flesh out from each skin into a bowl – you might find it helpful to hold them with a tea towel as they’ll still be hot
- Once you’ve got all the flesh, chop the potatoes up with a knife or pastry cutter. You can also use a fork. Stay away from using a potato masher as it’s easy to over use and the starch in the potatoes can get over worked and become very glutinous – this will ruin the gnocchi
- Add in the flour and the salt and ‘chop’ it into the dough
- Add in the egg now, and cut it in to the dough immediately (or you may get pieces of cooked egg)
- Bring it all together now with your hands – it should be firm but yielding. If it’s very sticky work in a little more dough (again ‘cut’ the flour into it, rather than kneading)
- Dust some flour on the counter and cut off a handful-sized piece of dough. Roll it out into a sausage about 15 mm or roughly the same thickness as your thumb. Doesn’t need to be exact
- Cut discs off the roll that are also around 15mm long with a sharp, small knife
- Roll these pieces of dough over the flour (on your board) as you cut them to coat them a little. Repeat with all of the potato dough until you have made gnocchi with all of it
- You can now leave them as they are (see note below about placing them apart) or, if you have a garganelli board or a butter pat, you can roll the gnocchi down it to create ridges. You can also roll them down the tunes of a fork. Ridging the gnocchi does take extra time and your gnocchi will be fine plain, the ridges are there to help hold on to the sauce
- To ridge a gnocco, place it on the board and place your fingers on top of it, about where your top knuckle is. Drag the gnocco towards you down the board with medium pressure until it reaches your fingertips. It will have rolled along, getting marked with the ridges
When you have made each gnocco place it down on a clean tea towel or a lightly floured board and try not to let the gnocchi touch each other as you continue to use all the dougCooking
I’m going to instruct you in both ways I cook my gnocchi – you can chose to fry/sauté them or boil them.
Frying makes them slightly crispier and you can cook them in advance and keep them warm while you cook the sauce.
Boiling is more typical, it’s quicker and results in fluffy gnocchi but your sauce needs to be ready when your gnocchi are
- Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large frying pan (skillet). Place batches of the gnocchi in the oil, gently and try to make sure they don’t stick together (separate any that are stuck with your spatula)
- Toss or flip the gnocchi in the oil until lightly browned and transfer to an oven proof dish. Keep warm in the oven until time to use
- Bring salted water in your largest saucepan to the boil. You may need to do this in two or three batches so you can get the gnocchi out quick enough before they go mushy
- Let the gnocchi roll around in the boiling water for a couple of minutes: they don’t take long. The gnocchi will have sunk to the bottom when you first put them in: when they are ready they pop up to the surface and float (self timing food: what’s not to love!)