I’m still on my skinny buzz. I amn’t convinced of my natural aptitude for no-cake eating. It seems to occupy a lot of my thoughts. Cake that is. But regardless I think it is in theory a good exercise in self control if nothing else.
The other thing that I’m trying to do is eat fewer animals. I did fairly well last week and had three vegetarian meals in a row. I might clarify first that this is more an environmental quest. The statistics of how much grain you need to give a cow to get a burger is crazy. Shame animals taste so damn delicious. I’m looking at you pigs. Anyway, three veggie meals in a row. Turns out I’m an Italian when I’m vegetarian. First risotto, second homemade pizza and then a bowl of perfect – in my eyes – gnocchi. I feel the Italians would do well to pronounce the g in gnocchi.
So I’m quite certain there are recipes for making them properly but I went on a one day Italian cookery course 3 months ago and we made them (haven’t made them since) but I think that makes me an expert on gnochi-making and as such I no longer use a recipe. I think you can pretty much do it by eye.
I also reckon you can make these with left over mashed potato so that’s good. Having two little boys we often have mashed potato to hand. I went for an easy sage butter sauce thing but you can make a tomato sauce if you like.
This makes about 5 not very accurate portions.
Potatoes – floury ones 6 big ones
Plain flour a few handfuls
Butter large knob…
Sage leaves more than 7
Garlic 3 cloves
Peel the potatoes and boil till soft and mashable.
Season and mash the potatoes and then leave them to cool down. I obviously didn’t and I burnt my hands. So just give them a few minutes to cool.
Add in the egg and use your hands to smush it all together. Slimy and vaguely unpleasant.
Add in a handful or two of flour and smush some more. It’ll start off horribly sticky but should get smoother and less sticky. You may need another few handfuls of flour but add them one at a time so as not to mess everything up.
Once you have a nice ball of smooth gnocchi dough you’ll need to shape it.
Take generous lumps of it and roll it into a long sausage on a floured worktop. You want a sausage of about 1.5cm diameter.
Slice the sausage into 3cm pieces and place the pieces on a floured baking tray while you get on rolling more dough sausages and slicing them until all the dough is used up. You can squish them with a fork to make them look fancy too – before putting them on the baking tray – if you’re that way inclined.
To the sauce. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add in the sage and garlic. Fry a little to let everything infuse then turn the heat super low and start cooking the gnocchi.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and throw in about 15 gnocchi. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan and bring the temperature down. They’re cooked when they start to float. Who doesn’t love an instructive pasta.
As they float to the top scoop them out with a slotted spoon and toss them into the buttery goodness.
Turn up the heat under the butter pan to medium high and fry the little feckers till they stop looking like slimy fish pieces and start going a very nice golden brown.
Repeat as necessary until all your gnocchi are fried. Alternatively, and the bit I like, is that you can put the boiled gnocchi in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days and fry them up as you need them or go ahead and freeze them.
If you want the tomato sauce then fry a clove of garlic in some oil and add in some passasta. Then season with salt and pepper and a bit of sugar. You could even add a herb. Oregano (dried) at the start or fresh basil at the end.
Not the best photo I’ve ever taken but you should make them.