How to make Italian classic

Gnocchi is one of Italy’s best known classic dishes, but how many people nowadays make it from scratch? Not a lot I imagine.

Dating back to the 16th century, the name Gnocchi derives from the Italian word nocca meaning knuckles.

24/3/11   A  vegetarian dish of  Gnocchi, spiced walnuts, mushroom ragout and truffle veloute at the Hotel du Vin & Bistro in York.

24/3/11 A vegetarian dish of Gnocchi, spiced walnuts, mushroom ragout and truffle veloute at the Hotel du Vin & Bistro in York.

Gnocchi has garnered a reputation for being a notoriously difficult dish to master, despite only using three key ingredients! However, if you overwork the dough you could end up with a chewy mess, but if you don’t add enough flour you risk your gnocchi disappearing in the pan. So here’s my guide to cooking the perfect gnocchi, using a recipe straight from La Cachette’s kitchen.

What you will need

1kg Potatoes; 3 Large Eggs; 300g Plain Flour; 2tbsp chopped tarragon; 2tbsp chopped Chervil; 2tbsp chopped chives; 2tbsp chopped parsley.

Method

Begin by boiling the potatoes with their skins on in a pan of salted water, until soft.

Once the potatoes are boiled, carefully peel off the skins and push the potatoes through a ricer, until fine, into a large bowl. Alternatively you can grate the potatoes or use a masher but beware it’s important at this stage to ensure the potato is lump free!

Take the bowl of potato and crack the eggs one by one into the potato and work in with your hands, the mixture will start to form a dough. Whilst kneading the potato dough sprinkle in the flour little by little until incorporated, you should be aiming for smooth non sticky dough. Please note you may not need all of the flour.

Now is the time to add the chopped herbs. If you want plain gnocchi please move onto the next step.

Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and roll individually into long baguette shapes. Make sure the gnocchi is floured to prevent it from sticking to the board.

Once rolled, take a sharp knife and cut the gnocchi dough into inch long pieces. The dough is now ready to be cooked!

Carefully place the gnocchi in a pan of boiling water, it only takes a couple of minutes to cook and you’ll know when it’s ready as it will float. When it starts to float wait an extra 30 seconds and then drain. Serve the gnocchi immediately either stirred into a pasta sauce or - like we do at La Cachette - crisp them up a little on the hob. To achieve a slightly crispier gnocchi, heat up a splash of oil in a frying pan and drop the gnocchi in. Leave for a couple of minutes to colour on either side, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

See Glenn in action cooking gnocchi this weekend at www.halifaxcourier.co.uk