Gnocchi is traditionally made with potatoes. It can, however, be made with sweet potatoes, butternut or even bread crumbs. I’ve even made spinach and ricotta gnocchi and it was very popular among everyone that tasted it.
I must admit that I find making my own gnocchi quite difficult. It can easily become rubbery, tough and dense. I have made quite a few inedible batches of gnocchi in the past. Here are some tips to make successful gnocchi:
– The potatoes must be dry; for this reason I prefer baking the potatoes rather than boiling them.
– Mash the potatoes with a potato ricer or press the potatoes through a sieve.
– The dough must be soft and pliable, so do not add too much flour.
– Don’t handle the dough too much to ensure that the dough will not become chewy. Mix the potatoes, egg and flour until just combined.
If successful, it is very satisfying to make your own gnocchi! If you don’t want to make them yourself, most supermarkets sell ready-made gnocchi. You need about 750g of gnocchi. This meal can be prepared in minutes if you use the bought gnocchi.
The nutty sauce can also be served with pasta. The sauce is based on a recipe by one of my food icons – the late Sannie Smit. She served the nut sauce with spaghetti.
This Gnocchi with a nutty sauce is perfect for meatless Mondays.
- For the gnocchi:
- 800g potatoes
- 1 large egg
- 5ml salt
- approximately 375ml cake flour
- For the sauce:
- 100g walnuts
- 20ml pine nuts
- 45ml soft butter
- 40g grated parmesan cheese
- 1 garlic glove, crushed
- Freshly grounded black pepper
- Pinch of salt
- Extra parmesan shavings for garnishing
- Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰C and bake the potatoes until soft.
- Remove the flesh from the skin and mash the potatoes (preferably with a potato ricer). Cool the potatoes down.
- Add the egg, salt and just enough flour to make a soft dough, that can be rolled out.
- Divide the dough into four balls and roll each ball into a 2cm thick log.
- Cut the rolls into 1.5cm pieces and make grooves on each with the back of a fork.
- Cook the gnocchi for a couple of minutes in salted boiling water until the gnocchi floats to the surface. Drain and mix with the nut sauce.
- Fry the nuts in a dry non-stick pan until it is browned, making sure not to burn the nuts.
- Place the nuts with the butter, grated parmesan cheese, garlic, pepper and salt in a food processor and process until it forms a paste.
- Mix the nutty paste with the warm gnocchi and serve topped with extra parmesan shavings.