Homemade gnocchi is amazing. I won’t lie to you, it can be a pain in the arse to make, but at the same time there’s something fun about it, particularly in this sort of weather – there’s a lot of bubbling away of pots and steamy potatoes which makes the whole thing more enticing on a wintery day. It being super tasty with simple ingredients and a real comfort dish makes up for it’s fiddly-ness. Also, you can freeze gnocchi, which means you can reap the benefits long after all the hard work is over.
1 kilo of potatoes (standard white variety are fine)
(see what I mean by simple ingredients?)
Boil the unpeeled potatoes in a pot of salted water until just tender. Take your time and keep an eye on them, you don’t want the skin to split as it adds too much moisture. When ready you should be able to pierce the potato with a knife and feel it is cooked through. Once ready, remove from water.
Peel your potatoes while still hot. This is fiddly and I do best holding the potato in a tea towel to protect my hands. Discard the skins and chop the potatoes into rough quarters. Push through a potato ricer (*a potato ricer looks like a giant garlic mincer and is generally available from most culinary shops. The ricer creates a fluffy mash – if unavailable just grate your cooked potatoes).
Dust your riced potato with flour and kneed with your hands. It will initially be sticky – add flour little by little until it resembles workable dough.
*Traditional recipes suggest adding an egg to the potato/flour dough, however the less flour used, the lighter the texture of the pasta so I generally omit the egg to avoid a too-wet dough.
Roll the dough into long sausage shapes and dust with flour to prevent sticking. Slice your dough sausages into roughly 3cm portions. If you like you can roll these pieces in your hand slightly to create a more uniform shape. Press each piece gently with a fork to create the indent of the prongs. This indent helps the pesto sauce stick to the gnocchi.
Drop your gnocchi into a large pot of salted water. The water must be at a full rolling boil as maintaining the high temperature is crucial, a large pot will help. Gently stir the pot to ensure the gnocchi stay separate. Very quickly, say after a minute or so, the gnocchi will float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon, and serve immediately, with a drizzle/dollop of your pesto.
For me this recipe pasta goes best with a simple basil pesto. Which is pretty quick, cheap and easy to knock up. Find the Pest Recipe here. This is a traditionally Tuscan dish, and sticking wine from the same region is always a safe bet – for me you can never go wrong with a Sangiovese (my absolute favourite wine).