Gnocchi really is the ultimate comfort food. Just the right amount of substance, and the right amount of stodge, and versatile enough to take on the flavours of whatever you choose to serve it with. Plus it's very simple and quick to make. And I don't mean "drop the shop-bought gnocchi into a pan of boiling water, wait 3 minutes and scoop them out". It takes less than 40 minutes to prepare gnocchi from scratch, and it's definitely worthwhile. Apparently they are sometimes made using egg, but I find that my eggless version works perfectly well, so it's a great vegan option.
My friend A came to visit today. She's an established 'hater' in the kitchen, but she's been getting more and more interested in cooking of late. And when she saw just how simple it is to knock up a batch of these bad boys, she was well and truly converted. I'm sure you will love them too!
Theoretically, it's worth making a big batch of these at once, and keeping any that you don't need in the fridge, with a dusting of flour, to cook the following day (or you can freeze them). However, I have found that no matter how many I make, it only seems to feed the number of people present, and there are never any leftovers!
Gnocchi in a light leek and sage infused sauce
for the gnocchi:
3 large floury potatoes
3 tablespoons white bread flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch salt and pepper
for the sauce:
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large leek, chopped into thin rings
2 tblsp olive oil
scanty handful fresh sage, roughly chopped
pinch salt and pepper
1. Chop the potatoes roughly into similar-sized pieces (roughly into thirds). Boil for about 25 minutes until they are almost completely cooked.
2. Drain the potatoes, and allow to rest until cool enough to handle. Then peel off the skin.
I hate waste, so I always drizzle the skins with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until they become crispy.
3. Mash the potatoes roughy in a large mixing bowl. You want to get rid of any big lumps, but you still want a good texture.
4. Mix the flour and the olive oil into the mashed potato, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for a couple of minutes until smooth-ish.
5. Roll out the dough into a long sausage shape, about a couple of centimetres thick.
6. Cut into sections about 2cm in width, then use a fork to gently indent one side of each of your gnocchi (this gives a good surface for your sauce to settle into).
7. Drop the gnocchi into a pan of boiling water. When the float to the surface they are done. This only takes about 3 minutes, so you will need to move fast to prepare the sauce...
8. Gently heat half of the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, sage and the leek, until they soften. At the last minute, add in the salt and pepper and the rest of the oil and heat through for about 30 seconds.
9. Remove the gnocchi from the boiling water with a slotted spoon, and drizzle with the garlic and leek infused oil. Serve immediately.