Gnocchi is 'pasta' made from potatoes. I had only ever eaten Gnocchi when out and had never dreamt of attempting to cook it from scratch myself. Turns out it is actually really simple - just 3 ingredients involved: potatoes, plain flour and an egg. You can't get simpler than that really - 3 easy to get hold of ingredients. So I decided to have a go.
Maris Piper potatoes are extremely versatile and can be used for pretty much anything: baking, boiling, mashing, roasting. We tend to pick up a pack of Maris Pipers each time we go shopping. That way we always have a ready supply to use for meals whatever we are cooking.
Whilst Maris Pipers are a potato that can be used for everything, Gnocchi is a recipe that needs a specific type of potato; light, fluffy, floury potatoes and Maris Pipers fit the bill perfectly!
So here's the ingredients list to make Gnocchi:
4-5 medium sized Maris Piper potatoes (around 600g)
150g plain flour
Now before I give you the ingredients list for the sauce, I need to explain... Think of the sauce part of the recipe like a map. It shows you the general terrain and layout but there are often various alternatives from getting from A to B. I put this recipe together today based on the ingredients I could find at home. You can vary it as you need to.
Here are the ingredients I used for the sauce:
1 onion (diced)
5-6 green tomatoes*
3-4 carrots (diced)
A handful of green beans (roughly chopped)
1 tin of tomatoes
A squeeze of tomato purée
A little water
*I had some tomatoes growing in the garden that haven't turned red and given that we are now halfway through October, they are highly unlikely to turn red so I decided to use them to stop them going to waste. Green tomatoes are perfectly fine when cooked and we think they actually taste great! Don't have green tomatoes growing in the garden? Then try courgette or peppers. Remember think 'map' rather than 'rule book'.
I once heard that instead of boiling potatoes to make Gnocchi, you can achieve a better result by baking the potatoes in the oven and then scooping out the fluffy white potato once cooked.
I decided to try this less conventional method to make my gnocchi.
Firstly wash the Maris Piper potatoes and place in a preheated oven (around 200C) for about 45 minutes until cooked through.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking, it's time to get your sauce ready. Dice an onion and fry in a little rapeseed oil until browned. Garlic fried along with the onion at this point would make a great addition to the recipe but having a family member who is intolerant to garlic, we gave the garlic a miss today.
Slice the green tomatoes into segments and add into the frying pan.
Then chop the carrots and green beans and add to the pan.
Then add the tin of chopped tomatoes and a squeeze of tomato purée. Leave to simmer on the hob for a further 20 minutes or so. Add a little water if it looks like it is drying out at all.
When the potatoes are baked in the oven, remove from oven and leave to cool until cool enough to handle. Then cut in half and scoop out into large bowl. (I know the temptation will be there to add some butter and grated cheese and eat a jacket potato there and then because Maris Pipers make the most perfect fluffy jacket potatoes but if you want to get to make the gnocchi you will just have to resist). Mash with a fork until smooth.
Remember you want a dry floury mixture so it won't look like the sort of creamy mash you might have at other times. Then mix in the flour, make a well in the centre and an the egg. Now combine into a dough-like mixture.
Make an indent on each piece of gnocchi using the back of a fork (this will help the sauce 'cling' to the gnocchi).
Finally pop them on the hob in a large pan of boiling water. They will be cooked in 1-2 minutes. They will rise to the surface of the water once cooked.
Then serve with the sauce you have made.
Now here's a top tip we discovered today. As well as getting a fluffier mash to make the gnocchi with, baking the potatoes for the first stage of this recipe rather than boiling them means you are left with baked potato skins which won't go to waste. Simply drizzle a little rapeseed oil over them, sprinkle on some grated cheese, pop back in your already warm oven for a few minutes until they are crispy and the cheese has melted and, hey presto, you have got yourself a quick and tasty starter. This means that every bit of the Maris Pipers is used and none goes to waste!
|No waste starter: Potato skins with melted cheese served with brown sauce.|
You could vary the potato skin toppings - remember to think 'map' and different ways to get from A to B. Perhaps some tikka paste, then topped with halloumi? Or salsa, guacamole and creme fraiche Mexican style?
My experiment to make home-made gnocchi for the first time went well and all the family enjoyed it - so I'll definitely be making it again!
This post is an entry for #MarisPiperBritMums Linky Challenge sponsored by Potato Council for Potato Week 7 – 13 October, celebrating the varieties of potatoes and how we like to eat them. Learn more and find recipes at www.lovepotatoes.co.uk