In Italian, the word Gnocchi means little knuckles. Many people are under the impression that it is difficult to make gnocchi at home….but nothing could be further from the truth. In my opinion, they are one of the easiest types of pastas to make. Once the potatoes are cooked, you can have them ready in less time than it takes to duck down to the supermarket and buy them. Nowadays, you can find recipes for a multitude of Gnocchi , but the recipe we are providing is a simple and traditional one, comprising of just four ingredients… potato, flour, egg and salt.
Gnocchi dough can be flavored with different vegetables such as pumpkin or spinach, however we will save these recipes for another day after you have mastered the production of potato gnocchi.
We whipped this dish up on a vegetarian night, when we had some over ripe tomatoes that needed to be used asap. We really love the flavors that ripe, juicy tomatoes bring to the Sugo (sauce). I hope that you are able to get your hands on some ripe tomatoes for this recipe. They make all the difference.
You will need:
1 kg Desiree potatoes
3 cups plain flour
1 egg, flour
Sugo di Pomodoro Fresco:
6 large ripe tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
2 sprigs of fresh basil
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper to season
Preparing the Gnocchi:
Wash the potatoes. Boil until well cooked. You should be able to pierce them effortlessly with a knife or skewer.
Whilst they are still hot, cut them in half, placing them cut-side-down into a potato ricer and push them through, onto a bench top. The potato rice will mash them and remove the peel at the same time. If you do not have a potato ricer, you can peel them under a thin stream of cool running water (to keep from burning your fingers) and mash them whilst still hot.
Allow them to cool until they are just warm, then add the egg, flour and salt.
Knead LIGHTLY!! Just enough to blend the ingredients. The trick here is to make sure that you do not over knead the dough. The consistency of the dough should be soft and only slightly sticky. If you over knead the dough, the gnocchi will be dense and rubbery, instead of light and fluffy.
Set the dough aside. Flour your bench top.
Shape the dough into a log, then cut the log lengthwise into 4-6 smaller logs. Roll each piece on the floured bench top, until it is approximately 1.5cm in diameter.
Cut each log into small pieces (approximately 2cm).
Using your thumb, roll each piece of dough over the prongs of a fork.
Set gnocchi aside until ready to cook. Please note, gnocchi dough becomes sticky if it is left at room temperature for too long. So it’s best to make these just before you are ready to use them. Alternatively, you can prepare them in advance and freeze them.
To cook gnocchi, you will need to drop them into a pot of salted boiling water. It should only take a minute or two for the gnocchi to rise to the surface of the water. Allow them to simmer gently on the surface for about a minute, then remove them with a slotted spoon or strainer.
Preparing Pomodoro Sugo
In a pot or a flat pan, add finely sliced garlic and saute on medium heat.
Add the tomatoes and water, cook for 10 minutes with the lid on. Season with salt and pepper.
(in the meantime, cook your gnocchi)
Add a good handful of fresh basil, stir through and cook until water has evaporated, leaving the lid off the saucepan so that the sauce can thicken.
Add your cooked gnocchi to the sauce. Leaving the saucepan on the heat, allow the gnocchi to cook for a minute on high heat.
Serve with a generous amount of grated Parmigiano cheese.