Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Homemade gnocchi and a simple tomato sauce

on October 6, 2011

I found a recipe in a book I don’t use that often, to make gnocchi, and for some reason, I thought this would be quick and simple!  It’s not!  I think it’s because the recipe only had 4 steps and there didn’t seem to be any times attached so I thought it wouldn’t take long.  At around 8.30pm on a thursday evening when I was starting to go crazy from lack of dinner and insane levels of gnocchi dough, I realised that I was wrong!

However, if you do have an afternoon free – perhaps a weekend one, it’s not a difficult recipe and once you get the hang of it, you can get making them quite quickly.  I made 1kg of gnocchi and froze about half of it.  I’ll let you know if that works or not.  And we ate the rest.  I’ve been doing 100g per person – I’ve seen recipes for a lot more than this per person, but I’ve no idea how you’d eat that much!  It doesn’t look like much on the plate, but both me and hubby were quite full after.

Whenever I’ve eaten gnocchi before, I’ve thought it’s a bit stodgy and heavy.  But this recipe isn’t. It’s light and fluffy and like pasta really, but made with potatoes.  I deliberately kept each gnocchi piece small to avoid any overtly stodginess, but I’ve been quite impressed.  And once it’s made, it makes  a very speedy, healthy, tasty dinner – so when you have got some time on a weekend it’s worth making a load and then using it for the week ahead and freezing some for later.

I’ve done a few different sauces with it – probably my favourite was a lemon and parmesan one, but I didn’t take photos of that!  You can find it here though

The tomato sauce below came from the same recipe book as the gnocchi and literally took 5 minutes to make.  Jamie Oliver, eat your heart out!  I think the book is this one, although without a picture it’s hard to tell

To be honest, it’s a gigantic heavy thing, and I’ve not found a lot of use for it.  But the gnocchi recipe is good and simple.  The gnocchi I made is potato semolina gnocchi but it seems you can make gnocchi from almost anything.  I think I may try ricotta gnocchi next.

Homemade semolina gnocchi

Makes 1kg – or about 10 portions

  • 800g baking potatoes
  • 120g durum wheat semolina
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  1. Peel and boil the potatoes until cooked – about 10 minutes.  I halved mine but didn’t cut any smaller than this.  Allow to cool and then peel the potatoes (this gets a bit messy but it doesn’t matter).
  2. Put the flour, semolina, salt and nutmeg in a bowl together.
  3. On a decent sized work surface, spread out the grated potato, and sprinkle over the semolina and flour mix.
  4. Crack an egg onto the top of it and then kneed the whole lot into a dough – like you would with bread.  You don’t want to overwork it, just a light kneeding until you achieve a dough consistency.
  5. Split the dough out into 200g portions.  Liberally sprinkle flour all over the surface and the dough (and your hands).  Take one 200g portion and roll out until its about 1cm thick (in a roll shape, not flat).  Then cut into 1cm wide strips.  Then cut into 1cm squares.  This is the bit that takes the time.  You also need to keep the flour handy to stop it from sticking to you or the surface or itself.
  6. You can either then roll these squares into little round patties lightly pressing a fork into them to make lines or long thin strips.
  7. Heat lots of water in a large saucepan.  Drop the 200g lot of gnocchi into the water when it’s fully boiling and cook for precisely 1 minute.  Then remove with a slotted spoon and place in a colander.  Run under cold water until completely cold, then drain well.
  8. The gnocchi is now ready to use as you wish.  It’ll keep in the fridge for several days, I think you can freeze it (I’m trying that now!) and you don’t need to boil it again – just tip it in the pan with the sauce towards the end of cooking to heat through and cover in sauce.

Simple fresh tomato sauce

Serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil (with a bit more to drizzle later – possibly)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt & pepper
  • handful of fresh herbs – I used basil and sage
  • 200g gnocchi
  • 30g grated parmesan
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan or high sided frying pan
  2. Add the onion and garlic and fry together on a medium heat until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes until they start to break down.
  4. Then add the herbs and seasoning to taste followed by the gnocchi.  The gnocchi may be slightly stuck to itself but it should separate out easily enough once in the pan.  Stir through and cook for a minute before chucking in the parmesan, stiring and removing from the heat.  If it’s too thick, drizzle in a bit of olive oil.
  5. Serve immediately with garlic bread and savour the fresh light flavours.

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