When I started this blog, the idea was to create seasonal, simple dishes that I could prepare and cook with my boys. I had visions of us sitting around the kitchen table, talking about what’s in season while kneading the sourdough for our home made bread. Not quite sure what I was thinking – my boys are 4 and 2, have no idea what ‘seasons’ are let alone seasonal produce and they are much more interested in building train sets than learning the art of bread making.
But I’m not one to give up quickly. So today with the little one at creche, Leo and I made our first batch of gnocchi together. I prepared the dough following an Antonio Carluccio recipe (I figure if anyone knows how to create the perfect gnocchi, it’s the godfather of Italian gastronomy…) and then Leo and I sat down to roll it out, cut it up and put little ridges onto each piece using the gnocchi board.
This was by far the most entertaining part – once Leo got the hang of pushing the gnocchi across the board (and I started to accept that the gnocchi wouldn’t all be perfectly sized), they went flying on to the floured tray – hence the flying gnocchi.
The end result was a tray full of imperfect – but perfect – gnocchi that became our dinner. We did a fist pump to ‘good teamwork’ and tucked in.
Home made gnocchi with creamy pesto sauce (+ bacon!)
For the gnocchi
800g floury potatoes (I used Desiree)
200g tipo 00 flour
1 medium egg
For the sauce
3 rashes rindless bacon, diced
3 tbls homemade pesto
250ml light cream
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Cracked black pepper and crusty bread to serve
Heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Prick the potatoes with a fork a few times and place them on a tray in the oven for about an hour or until the potatoes are cooked through. Allow to cool.
Scoop out the potato flesh (or peel off the skin if that is easier), place in a bowl and mash with a fork. I did this with a potato ricer as it breaks the potatoes up nicely and removes lumps. Add the flour and egg and knead with your hands until the mixture comes together. Turn out onto a floured surface and continue to knead until you have a nice dough.
To make the gnocchi, cut off a slice of the dough (approx 1cm) and place on a floured board. Roll it out with your hands to get a nice even ‘sausage’ and then cut it into approx 2 cm pieces. Roll each piece across a gnocchi board (I found this much easier than trying to create grooves with a fork) and place on a floured tray ready to cook. These little ridges help the gnocchi collect the sauce.
To make the sauce, saute the bacon in a drizzle of olive oil until browned. Add the cream to the pan and heat through slowly. Add in the pesto and mix well. You want to keep the sauce warm, but not cook it.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add in the gnocchi, I did this in batches. After about 30 seconds to 1 minute, the gnocchi will float to the top, this means it’s ready. Scoop out the cooked gnocchi and add to the pan with the sauce. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
Serve gnocchi with freshly grated parmesan, cracked black pepper and crusty bread.
Serves 4 – Gnocchi recipe from Antonio Carluccio