Friday, September 15, 2017

Potato Gnocchi with Sage and Walnut Butter – Better a Dinner of Herbs...

Pin It There is a proverb which goes something like: Better a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf and hatred therewith. In other words, better to have modest offerings given with a generous heart than abundance offered with a mean spirit.

Gnocchi sounds so much more exotic than "potato dumpling"

My cupboard obviously has a generous heart. At first glance today, it appeared empty. Baked beans on toast for dinner... hmmmm. Think, Hester, think! Potatoes, flour, Parmesan, eggs, nuts, butter and plenty of herbs in the garden... channelling ... channelling... ggggggnnnnnn...  gnocchi!

For 3 to 4 servings you will need...


550g Rooster or other floury potato, skin on
100g plain flour
2g  (½ teaspoon) baking powder
½ teaspoon fine table salt
1 egg, beaten

A little extra flour for dusting

1                  Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and carefully add just enough boiling water to cover. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook gently for about 15 minutes or until easily pierced right through with the tip of a knife. Drain the cooked potatoes and leave them aside for about 5 minutes or until just cool enough to handle. Gently peel, then push the potatoes through a potato ricer, catching them in a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have a ricer, mash them with a regular potato masher. Using a fork, gently spread the potato out into an even layer without compacting it. Leave to cool.
2                  Next, sprinkle in the flour and baking powder and lightly combine until the mixture resembles ground almonds.
3                 Add the beaten egg and mix gently using a fork to bring the ingredients together. When the egg has been evenly dispersed throughout, bring the mixture together in a ball, using floured hands.

4                 Turn out onto a floured work surface. Divide the mixture into about 4 portions and roll each into a rope about the thickness of your thumb. Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into pillows of dough about 1.5cm long (half an inch).
5                 Place each pillow of dough, one at a time, cut side down in the palm of your lightly floured hand. Press gently with the back of a fork so that it forms a slightly ridged indent. This helps the gnocchi hold any sauce you care to add. (You can freeze them on a tray at this point and transfer the frozen gnocchi to a freezer bag. Cook from frozen.)
6                 To cook: bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Carefully drop the shaped gnocchi into the pan one at a time. They will sink to the bottom of the pan. Don’t add more than will cover the base of the saucepan in a single layer. Make sure the water comes back to simmering, turning up the heat if necessary. When the gnocchi rise to the surface continue cooking for a further 3 minutes. When the gnocchi are cooked, drain and add to your favourite sauce.

The humble potato gets an Italian makeover

Gorgonzola or porcini sauces are particularly good with gnocchi. Today, however, I’m all about the simple so here’s how my sauce goes...

Sage and Walnut Butter

70g butter
50g finely chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaved parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
Black pepper

1                 Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat until sizzling. Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan in a single layer and fry gently until golden brown – about 3 minutes. Turn to brown the other side and add the walnuts at the same time. After 2 minutes, add the crushed garlic and herbs and cook gently for a further minute or so.
2                 Transfer to a warm serving dish and scatter with parmesan shavings.

Just add Parmesan

Better than beans on toast!
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