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Making good gnocchi at home is an amazing gift. Using just a handful of cheap ingredients, it’s quick to cook, and total comfort food. Top with a couple of quick sauces rustled up using whatever’s in the fridge, you’ve got dinner sorted.
When Jamie was in Rome, Nonna Teresa showed him how to make gnocchi without using eggs and it’s a total game-changer. Follow our handy step-by-step guide and lift the spirits with some delicious food.
Serves: 6 to 8
Takes: 1 hour 30 minutes
1kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper, King Edward (all a fairly even size, as you’re going to cook them whole)
100g Tipo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
- Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salted water for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain and leave until cool enough to handle, then remove the skins.
- Mash the potatoes using a potato ricer or masher, then tip onto a large clean board.
- Sprinkle over the flour, finely grate over half the nutmeg, season well with sea salt and black pepper, then scrunch and push the mixture together with clean hands.
- Depending on the potatoes, you may need to add a little more flour – use your common sense.
- Knead on a flour-dusted surface for a few minutes until pliable, then divide into 4 equal pieces and roll each into a sausage about 2cm thick. Slice into 3cm lengths – this is your basic gnocchi.
- Now you can gently roll each piece down a butter pat, the back of a fork or a fine grater to add grooves, which will help your sauce to stick, or simply roll into balls.
- Cook the gnocchi 2 portions at a time so they’re less likely to break up. Cook in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes – as soon as they come up to the surface they’re ready. Remove with a slotted spoon and toss with the Quick tomato sauce below, then finely grate over a little Parmesan, to serve.
Quick tomato sauce
To rustle up a quick tomato sauce, simply fill a baking dish with ripe cherry tomatoes on the vine, leaving the vine on to add flavour as they cook. Season with sea salt and black pepper, add a pinch of dried chilli flakes, some finely sliced garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss well, then roast in a hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Leave to cool slightly, then discard the vines, carefully pinch the blistered skins off the tomatoes, and you’ll be left with all that lovely, soft, sweet tomato flesh and tasty juices, ready to toss with your gnocchi.
Or, you could make your own pesto using the classic flavours of basil, pine nuts and Parmesan. If you don’t have those to hand, try these alternative flavour combos:
- Use half basil and half rocket, walnuts, and pecorino.
- Almonds and rocket.
- Hazelnuts and flat-leaf parsley.
- Cashews, coriander and a squeeze of lime.
TIP: If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, you can use a blender or food processor instead.