We never had gnocchi at my house in Florence growing up, mum didn’t take pleasure in anything soft or mushy so it was no gnocchi and definitely no mashed potatoes for us.
But on many occasions from about the age of 6, I’d ride my bike over the hill from Santa Margherita a Montici to Pian dei Giullari to where my friend Novella lived. We’d play all afternoon making forts in the chestnut trees then when dinner time came if we were lucky Valentina (Novella’s mum) would serve us gnocchi. The fact I could only have them there elevated the plebeian potato to aristocratic hieghts.
Now that I have my own home and family the gnocco asserts himself in our kitchen and we crave him often without choice.
Mike & I adore gnocchi as does Felix, yet our four year old daughter Coco has inherited the anti-soft gene from her Nonna - she enjoys making them but leaves the eating up to us.
For the gnocchi I’ve used many a recipe, everyone has their own, but this Giorgio Locatelli one is a great guide and inspiration to actually make them!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o-GIIz9eKA (this video shows the step by step procedure and some tricks!).
There are many ways to serve these heavenly potato pillows but this time Mike & I couldn’t agree on one so we simply used half in our home made tomato passata and the other half with Gorgonzola diluted in cream.
Since Coco is anti gnocchi but very pro pasta, if I make gnocchi I just boil a little pot of water separately, cook some spaghetti and use the same sauce I have for the gnocchi and voila’ everyone is happy!
For the gnocchi (serves 6)
330g of plain flour
1 kilo of waxy potatoes (I use desiree)
pinch of salt
Put the potatoes with the skin on in a pot and cover with cold water. Heat until it comes to boil and then simmer for about 26 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.
In the meantime pour the flour onto a flat surface and gently beat the egg and set aside.
When the potatoes are cooked, peel them while still hot and then pass each one through a ricer/mouli.
You now need to work fast and mix them gently with the flour, a pinch of salt and the egg until a uniform log-ball forms. Your hands will suffer from the heat but it will be worth it! Don’t overdo it, a light knead and it will come together fast.
You can then cut off a slice from the log and work it into a long worm, then cut into bite size pieces and set aside with some flour sprinkled over them.
Once your gnocchi are done and your sauce is ready, place your gnocchi into the pot of boiling water. You’ll know they’re ready when they rise and you can fish them out with a slotted spoon and put them into your sauce. They take about 2-3 minutes to cook and I usually do them in batches.
Ricetta for Sugo:
You can get creative with this and use your favourite pasta sauce. As mentioned before, we simply used half with passata, fresh basil and parmigiano.
The other with Crema di Gorgonzola. All you need to do is gently heat some gorgonzola in some cream, mix well until a smooth sauce forms. It’s heavy but divine!
Gnocchi successfully freeze with extra flour sprinkled over them. When it’s time to use them, simply add frozen gnocchi to boiled water and wait for them to rise.