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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Basil gnocchi with sage butter

Matt here,

This was a mid-week, tag-team effort - I made the gnocchi, Jen made the sauce.

The night before last we had sausage and mash (with onion and marsala gravy) which I will modestly claim was excellent, but that's another story. Anyway, halfway through peeling for the mash, I was thinking about what I was going to do with the other half of the potatoes that I didn't really need. Normally what happens is that I cook far more than I can eat (but proceed to eat them all nonetheless) whilst leaving a small handful of potatoes to go green and plantlike because I can never be bothered to prepare such a small number of spuds...

The solution was simple, peel all the potatoes, cook them and then keep enough for the meal and put the rest in the fridge to have as gnocchi the following evening. I accept that we're not talking Einstein levels of genius here, but still...

Well, it turns out that gnocchi is really easy, oddly satisfying and tastes great when home made. This recipe was adapted from the top 15 search hits on googling "gnocchi recipe" - the most relevant was probably the one on the BBC site, it inspired the basil.

500g pre-cooked potatoes
150g plain flour
1 egg
A handful of basil

  1. Put a nice big pan of salty water over the heat. 
  2. Mash the potato as much as you can, add the flour and egg and mix it all together in a big bowl with your hands. Add salt to taste - if you don't fancy eating raw egg to find out, you should be thinking of adding about as much salt as you would to a similar volume of mash - a significant fraction of your daily allowance.
  3. Prepare a baking tray with a handful of flour spread on it
  4. Take your ball of dough and tear off a piece. Roll it into a snake about 2cm wide on a chopping board and then chop it into short lumps, 2-3cm. Put the lumps in the floured tray. Keep going until you've used all of the dough.
  5. Roll the gnocchi in the flour and then remove the excess in a colander.
  6. Drop the gnocchi into the simmering water and fish them out as they rise to the surface.
  7. Once they've steamed off some of their water, cover them in a sauce and then eat.
Sauces to try:
Nutty sage butter (this is what we had) 
Some kind of cream and blue cheese combination, poured over the top and then grilled (what I'd like to do next time)
Olive oil, parmesan, salt and pepper (what I will probably do next time)

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