“gnocchi gnocchi” “who’s there?”

I have been craving gnocchi the last couple of days and I thought today it would make a perfect lunch in the sun. Gnocchi is a basically an Italian dumpling made of flour and potato; it’s really THAT easy! While traditionally potato is used, I have made them with potato, sweet potato or pumpkin or even a combination of the three before. Although this dish is a little up there on the time-consuming scale it is by no means difficult and you need barely anything to make a whole delicious meal; I literally used eight ingredients.

ImageAs you may be able to tell from the above picture I used sweet potato instead of normal potatoes but that was only because I had a sweet potato in the cupboard and couldn’t be bothered driving all the way to the grocery store to buy regular potatoes! 

To begin; peel your vegetable(s) of choice and cut them in halves/quarters, place them in a pot with some water and salt and boil them just like if you were making mashed potatoes. When they’re done scoop them out with a spoon or sieve, or place a colander in another pot and pour the water through; however you see fit just make sure you save the water! (I’ll come back to this later)

Once the potatoes have cooled down a little, mash them with a fork until it is lump-less and spread out on a plate to cool. You can start on your sauce while you wait 🙂 Gnocchi is flavorful on their own so you don’t really need a particularly thick or busy sauce to serve them with, I made a basic tomato sauce (a diced onion, some crushed garlic, a can of crushed tomatoes..a little red wine if you’re feeling naughty) with green beans, I maybe would have added some diced capsicum if I had any but that is about as exciting as I would get. Alternatively, mix the gnocchi with some basil pesto and drizzle with olive oil to keep it light.

When your potato has cooled down you can add the flour. I would suggest about a cup of flour for every large potato you use, however, the amount of flour you need depends on how moist the potatoes are so I always start with less and add more as I go. Some recipes say to mix in an egg at this point too, some don’t. I never use egg because I have found that it just makes the mixture too sticky and gooey but for first timers it can save a whole lot of stress because the egg helps bind everything together and hold the dumplings together while they cook so it is completely up to the chef! Mix the mixture together and knead into a ball of dough, just like you would if you were making bread. You will know the dough is ready when you can poke it without it sticking to you fingers but hopefully not crumbling apart…

Quarter your dough ball and cylinders about a centimetre thick and cut widthways at centimetre intervals. This next bit is kind of tricky and not suuuuper essential if you want to skip it. Run each piece of dough down the back of a fork to make little indentations around it like in the picture below.

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Now it’s time to cook them!!

This is when you need to salty, starchy water you cooked the potatoes in. Reheat the water, when it’s boiling drop about 20 of your dough pieces in careful not to splash boiling water everywhere. The pieces will sit along the bottom of the pot and within a couple of minutes they will begin to dance a little bit and float up to the surface. Leave them bobbing here for another minute of so before scooping them out and popping them into whatever sauce you chose, repeat with the remaining gnocchi until they are all cooked. Serve hot with a generous amount of parmesan cheese. Or cold, it will be delicious either wayImage

I ate mine in the sun while reading a bit of ‘Max et Lili fêtent Noël en famille’. This is my new French book, it’s written for five year old children and I can vaguely comprehend what is actually happening in it, bilingual-ness here I come!…

-D