Cooking Nooky, Sorry, Gnocchi

So the end of my final term has come. My dissertation, which happens to be about cookery writing, has been handed in. I only hope that all my research (read: hours spent ooing and aahing over gastroporn) has paid off. Now that my freedom in the kitchen has returned, I wanted to be inspired to make something that would take all afternoon. That inspiration came in the form of this video. I am only accustomed to the distinctly turgid little balls purchasable from all supermarkets, and so was intrigued to try something a little more ‘authentic’. Goodness knows why we strive for authenticity when, surely, the aim of cooking is simply to make something good (enough) to eat. I have to agree though, there is something smugly satisfying about convincing yourself that yours is as close to the Tuscan original that can be expected from a kitchen in Bethnal Green.

As with most Italian food, it’s best kept simple and so I simply plopped some ricotta and steamed spinach amongst my comforting delights before dashing off for an evening of fun and frolics. Oh, life is good right now.

One warning about this dish is that it makes a lot, and is also quite time consuming BUT the freshness and tenderness definitely make it worth it. You can deal with the excess, as I happily did, by making the dough into little potato pancakes. The dough doesn’t keep well and will go grey in the fridge after a few hours, this may seem off-putting, but I can only be honest with you. The pancakes, however, will keep for a few days and are just as good reheated with a fried egg and spicy tomato salsa, as they are fresh.

Ingredients 

1 kg King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes

200g plain flour

1 beaten egg

a good pinch of salt

30g semolina for coating

olive oil

butter

spinach and ricotta (optional)

cracked black pepper

  • Place the potatoes, with the skins on (this is important to retain the starch, but don’t think you haven’t got out of peeling them!)  into boiling salted water and cook for 20-25 mins or until just cooked. This will obviously depend on the size of the potatoes.
  • Meanwhile, clean a big surface and get your egg and flour ready as it’s important to make the dough while the potatoes are still warm and so you don’t want to waste any time faffing about with scales later on.
  • When the potatoes are cooked, peel them, with a peeler, or with your fingers if your hands are made of asbestos. Let your house-mate make jokes about hot potatoes and let him/her mime throwing them around but do not laugh. This is serious gnocchi.
  • Mash the potato as finely as you can, you probably will need to resort to a fork in the end. Who actually has a potato ricer? I like mash, but not that much.
  • When you have given up on your potatoes, plonk them on the table and make a well in the middle. Add your beaten egg, salt and flour and knead into a firm dough.
  • Make long sausage shapes and from these, cut little oblongs and press a fork into them a bit so they look like how gnocchi looks.
  • Roll in the semolina.
  • Then, either place in rapidly boiling water for about a minute, until they come to the surface of the water. Or, as I did, heat a combination of butter and oil in a pan (butter for richness, oil to stop the butter from burning) and fry for two minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  • Serve on warm plates with your cooked spinach and blobs of ricotta, some seasoning and a drizzle of good olive oil.
  • Mmmmmm

3 Responses to “Cooking Nooky, Sorry, Gnocchi”

  1. Hannah says:

    This looks sooo good!! hint hint. (much better than when I tried it and they fell apart)

  2. Mrs D says:

    Hmmm, this looks good.

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