I dream of travelling to Italy.
It’s a country I’ve never been to before, yet it’s fascinated me for years, besides the dreamy pictures of rolling hills, vineyards and cliffs that lead to that enticing Mediterranean sea, it’s the food culture that gets me. The simplicity of a meal that can bring the masses together. It’s the thought of sitting in the bustling square, watching all the goings on while that silky smooth Gelato runs down my hand.
They take their food seriously and I can only imagine one could taste that passion in every strand of spaghetti. I almost feel as if eating the commercial Italian food we love so much here, is severely depriving me from the real thing!
Yes, I’m a bit of a dreamer and if I allow myself I could very easily sit for hours and fanaticize about sitting in that olive grove, breaking pieces of crispy ciabatta and dunking it in the purest of olive oils.
But I’m not going to allow myself to get carried away right now, until I get my Italy trip I’m just going to keep on cooking, and so with that here is my version of the humble Gnocchi.
P.S save this recipe for those slow afternoons, when you just want to take it easy and cook for fun, while sipping on a glass on vino.
6 medium size Potatoes (whole with skins on)
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
1 cup Flour
Salt to Taste
Heat water in a pot, add your potatoes and boil until tender and cooked. Remove from the pot and allow to cool down slightly.
Once your potatoes are cool enough to work with, peel off the skins and add your potato to a bowl. Mash the potato gently, until it just becomes mashed potato.
Make a well in the center of the mash and pour in the lightly beaten egg. Using a fork mix it into the potato, working your way from the center outwards until combined.
Scrape your potato mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and slowly start adding your cup of flour, bit-by-bit, using your hands to mix it into the potatoes. At this stage you can also season your gnocchi mixture, just enough to taste.
Continue to add the remaining flour and begin to knead the mixture until it becomes a beautiful soft dough. Be sure not to over knead it as it may become gluey.
Now your dough is ready, yay! Roll your dough into a ball and using a nice sharp knife divide the dough in to four pieces by cutting a ‘+’ sign.
Set three pieces aside. Take your fourth piece of dough and on a flour dusted surface begin to gently roll the dough into a sausage shape until it’s about 3cm wide.
Now using your sharp knife cut 1,5 to 2cm wide slices. If the dough is sticking, just continue to dust with flour.
Now the you have your little nuggets of dough sliced you can begin to shape them. Using a fork, gently roll the pieces of dough down the fork to create ridges on the gnocchi. These ridges just help hold onto the delicious sauces you can add to the dish.
Repeat the process with remaining dough.
While you are shaping your gnocchi, begin to heat up a pot of salted water and bring it to the boil.
Now that you’ve completed shaping your gnocchi you can boil it.
I prefer to boil the gnocchi in two to three batches so as to not over crowd them in the pot. This stage of the process moves fairly fast as the gnocchi will cook very quickly, so keep your eyes on the pot. As soon as the gnocchi starts to float, remove them and add your next batch until they all done.
Ta-da! Your gnocchi is done. Serve it in your favourite Italian sauce and top with some shavings of parmesan.