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Published July 15th 2011
You don't have to be Italian to make delicious pasta from scratch, and this simple gnocchi recipe proves it. Impress your family and friends by dishing up a warm, filling favourite at your next gathering.
Method Peel the potatoes, cut them in half, and place them in a large pot of cold water. Bring to the boil, testing potatoes with a skewer every so often. Remove them from the water when the skewer passes through easily, and drain well. It's important not to let the potato become too soft in the pot, or it will retain too much water and you'll have to use more flour later, making the gnocchi heavier.
Spread the flour in a circle on your kitchen bench, and press the potatoes through a sieve (twice if you have the time) into the centre. Crack the eggs on top of the potato one at a time, using your hands to work the two together. Once combined, start folding in the flour.
Now this is the fun, messy part, but it's also where you'll need to be careful - add too much flour and your gnocchi will be as hard as bullets; add too little and the gnocchi will stick together when you cook it later. (Last time I used around 600g of flour, but it depends on how much water your potatoes have retained while boiling, and the type of potatoes you decided to use. The amount of flour varies slightly each time, and you can make it up as you go).
What you want to avoid is a mixture that resembles dough. You've added too much flour if that's the case. Keep it soft enough that it doesn't rebound when lightly pressed.
Once you have the right consistency, break off chunks of the mixture and roll it into logs around 1.5 centimetres thick on a floured surface. Use a knife to cut the logs into bite-sized segments, then roll each segment over a flour dusted fork to create textured gnocchi.
Place the gnocchi in a pot of boiling water, one handful at a time. You'll know when pieces are cooked, because they will bob to the surface and stay there. Scoop out the gnocchi that has risen to the surface with a strainer spoon and cover in a bowl while cooking the rest.
Now the sauce you use is completely up to you, but if you fancy what's in the picture above, here's what I used:
1 onion, diced
6 kalamata olives, pitted
4 bacon rashers
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp chilli paste
3 tbsp cream cheese
splash of milk
handful of parmesan, plus extra to serve
Brown the onion in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the diced bacon, mushrooms and olives. Spoon the cream cheese into the mix, and add a splash of milk - enough to thinly cover the bottom or the pan. Stir the mixture until the cream cheese is fully incorporated, then mix in a handful of parmesan. Add the crushed garlic clove, chilli paste (to taste), and diced shallot.
Mix in cooked gnocchi, then serve straight away. Sprinkling the dish with flakes of parmesan, and some spare shallots is always a nice way of finishing it off.