This is something that has long been on my to do list. I've had a soft spot for gnocchi since I was a child but it's not often that you can find a Hannah-friendly version in the supermarket.. Then we were in a Philadelphia a couple of years ago (a trip we like to call the democracy tour - we took in Boston, Philly, and New Hampshire) and had one of the best meals in a small neighbourhood Italian. It wasn't anything fancy, just outstanding gnocchi with a beautiful ragu, oh, and the restaurant was BYO too which is always a winner in our book. It was one of those meals you don't forget, we talk about it quite a lot really... Since then, we've been meaning to make our own gnocchi but it is only in the last few months that we've actually got round to it (small things like getting married seemed to get in the way!)
You may think it seems like quite a faff, but we can assure you it's totally worth it. We make two meals' worth at a time and freeze the rest, but you could probably do more. Starting with the potatoes, we've tried out a couple of varieties and have decided that Desiree is the best bet. Prick and slowly bake 1kg Desiree potatoes on a bed of rock salt at 190C. It should take about an hour and they should be completely cooked through. Once cooked, take them out and carefully peel them once they are cool enough to handle. The next step is slightly easier if you manage to peel them rather than scooping the flesh out of the skins. The next task is to grate the hot potato flesh. In our research for this post, a number of people suggested a potato ricer is the way to go. We've not done definitive testing but are very happy with the texture you get from grating so are sticking with that!
Next clear your worktop or kitchen table, heap 250g plain flour together with half a teaspoon salt onto the table together with the grated potato. Add in 2 beaten eggs and mix together adding more flour if necessary. Try to work the dough as little as possible, just do enough to bring it together. Flatten the dough out (sprinkling more flour as needed) and roll until about 2cm thick. Slice the dough into 2cm strips then roll each into a sausage. We found it was slightly more manageable to cut some of the longer pieces in half, but you'll work it out. Once you've got your sausages sorted, slice them into 1.5cm chunks and sprinkle with a little more flour. If you're feeling enthusiastic then you can style them using a fork. We liked this idea but were too tired by this point... They taste the same either way!
Check out the next post for a serving idea...