Sunday, 28 June 2015

let's cook: gnocchi

lets make gnocchi

This time the cooking challenge is dedicated to gnocchi. A bit of a technical one.

My mum made Gnocchi di Romagna (pictured left) which are ricotta and flour-based gnocchi, and I made a sweet potato version (pictured right).

I found this one quite tricky - partly because I wasn't exactly sure on the consistency I was aiming for with the gnocchi. It's not something I've eaten much of, and when I have eaten some it has rarely been homemade.

I chose this recipe from the Just a taste website as I liked the simplicity of the ingredients, but with the slight twist on traditional gnocchi.

sweet potato gnocchi mixture

It took quite a while to make but a lot of that time is spent draining the ricotta, and baking and cooling the potatoes so it's not all full-on cooking time.

I found that I needed much more flour than the recipe said to make the mixture into a manageable dough - perhaps because I didn't drain the ricotta enough - but once it got to a more solid (although very sticky) state I was able to form them into wonky gnocchi shapes.

gnocchi shapes

The recipe made enough for 4 people so I froze half the batch at this stage.

A tip: make sure there is enough space in your freezer before you do this, as we had to chip a couple off the top of the freezer drawer a couple of days later (told you they were sticky).

The first batch I cooked on the day of making, and followed the recipe for Kelly's brown butter and sage sauce.

Ben really like this when he tried it, although I have to say, I wasn't that keen on it myself. A bit sage heavy for me. The gnocchi really does soak up the buttery sauce though, which is nice.

gnocchi with sage & brown butter

I was quite pleased I'd made enough for two batches as it meant I could try something different for round two. This time I made some pesto with some herbs from the garden, and served it with some roasted asparagus and parmesan.

gnocchi pesto asparagus

I really liked how this turned out, although I was a bit overzealous with the lemon juice (the gnocchi really did absorb it). I cooked the gnocchi for a little longer the second time too and I think they had a better texture when slightly firmer.

Here's the recipe for the pesto I made if you want to follow it - I've reduced the amount of lemon so you should be safe.

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Lemon, chive and parsley pesto
(Makes enough for two)

Ingredients

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
A small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
A small bunch of chives, snipped
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
Zest and juice of ½ a lemon
3 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

Put the garlic, parsley, chives, pine nuts, cheese and lemon zest in a small bowl and mix.

Season well, then stir in the olive oil and lemon juice.

That's it - super easy! Would be great served with gnocchi, pasta, or on a potato salad.

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Back to the gnocchi, my mum made her batch yesterday. She followed a recipe from a 1979 Italian cookbook, which didn't include potato. Controversial? Maybe.

She sent me a message halfway through saying that she'd made a sloppy mess and the kitchen was covered in flour, but I think she must have been exaggerating as the finished gnocchi look quite firm in her pictures.

She served them with a simple butter and parmesan dressing.

mum's gnocchi

Now, to the results...

My dad gave my mum a mixed review: he said the taste was ok, but that they were a bit slimy. He gave them 8/10 though so he must have liked them! Good score.

Ben gave me 7.5, which I was happy with as I didn't really enjoy my first dish that much.

Pretty good results all round I'd say, particularly as this was one neither of us were that optimistic about.

gnocchi with roasted asparagus and homemade pesto

Next time we'll be making jam and scones.
Perfect for a summer cream tea!

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