GNOCCHI

The way how to make those gnocchi might differ from what you will find in your favourite cooking books, but this recipe aims to show an easy and practical technique for making a gorgeous plate of food at home with only 5 ingredients.

I have learnt to make the perfect gnocchi after many hours (days!) of sweating in a certain London restaurant (not to be named!) and today I am sharing it with you. Making gnocchi is not rocket science but it can be challenging to achieve the level of perfection you get in a high-end restaurant. But as they say, ‘Practice make perfect’! Determination, hard work and consistency are key for a great result. Indeed, making gnocchi can be fun at home, but when you are making gnocchi to serve a high profile clientele in Mayfair you must make sure that the 500 pieces of gnocchi that are being shaped must look all the same! This recipe is easy for all abilities to follow, and even if the shapes aren’t perfect, they will all taste delicious!

Creating these little beauties from scratch is very rewarding. It might take one hour to make these little potato round delicacies but don’t think about the time, think how special you are going to feel when you are going to enjoy them. Of course, you can buy a bag of fresh gnocchi at Sainsbury’s or Tesco, but they will never compare what you are going to make. So let’s start by baking 2.5 kg of Maris Piper potatoes wrapped in a foil at 180 degrees Celsius. (In the restaurant we wrapped them individually, but you can wrap them in 1 big parcel.) Potatoes that are all the same size, will cook faster and heavenly. When cooked through, take the foil off and cut them in half to release the steam contained inside the potatoes then put them back in the oven at 120 degrees Celsius for 5 minutes to dry them out.

Ingredients: 2.5 kg of Maris Piper uncooked, (1.5kg dry mash), 250g Flour 00 (pasta flour), 2 beaten eggs, 65g grated Parmesan, 25g Maldon salt.

Scoop the potato out of the skin and mash. (If you’re lucky enough to have a potato ricer then use this.) Speed is important at this stage so make sure you have you other ingredients already prepared.

While the potato mash is still steaming, mix it with the grated Parmesan and combine the flour and beaten eggs to it. Work the mixture into a dough with your hands. The dough must be homogeneous and smooth.

Divide the dough, I will recommend to divide it into 20 even sized blocks. Flour your worktop and take a block of gnocchi and start rolling it into a sausage shape with your fingers. Keep doing the same with remaining blocks of dough. Everything must be the same, size, diameter and shape. With a sharp knife cut the dough in to ‘pillows’ about 1cm long. Above, the pictures are showing you step by step what it should look like.

Get ready with a pan of boiling salty water. Boil the gnocchi in batches of approximately 50 pieces. You will know they are cooked when they pop up to the surface (or about 1 minute). Drain the gnocchi then pour into a tray with olive oil and roll them in. They must be glazed with the olive oil as it will prevent them sticking all together. A soft and smooth little pillow is ready to be enjoyed.

Many options are available to finish the gnocchi. You can eat them plain or with some grated Parmesan on top or with some sun-dried tomatoes and black olive or with a cream sauce and finish with truffle.

You can store the gnocchi for a couple of days in the fridge and then reheat when needed in a pan of boiling water. Have fun!

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