Pan-Fried Potato Gnocchi
Ever since we have moved to Mumbai, we are ending up having so many more parties and guests over – and you know me. People at home mean great drinks, fun appetizers and bomb homemade party food! We’re talking about the type of food that we all maybe wouldn’t normally make for our families or our regular weeknight selves, but that can be fully embraced and appreciated when we are with our foodie friends. Food that is only a bit pretentious but not really. Because it makes you enjoy and take in the experience of eating that food and not just talking about it.
In this case, I am speaking about gnocchi. The first time I ate amazing gnocchi was 6 years ago in Italy, in a tiny restaurant in Rome. I am really not exaggerating when I say that when I ate it I didn’t know if it was cheese or bread or what, but it was so pillowy and soft and melting in my mouth. When I took a class there I learned how the Italians make it, and I came back and made a few of my modifications to it, and honestly feel like my recipe helps me go back to the little lanes in Rome.
There are many recipes for pasta that you will find that ask for eggs in the recipe. It keeps the dough moist and soft and for those that enjoy the taste, it does add a lot of flavour as well. HOWEVER. For those who know me, know that I wouldn’t use eggs in anything let alone my pasta! I blame my mom for feeding me eggs every day before school up to a point that I woke up one-day hating eggs and absolutely repelled by their smell! But I do make a few exceptions in eggs, souffles, and omelets with Jack cheese when I am on holiday and cannot find anything else for breakfast.
Well, for this recipe though I would love for you guys to experiment on a weekend when you can also make a great sauce, which has just the right amount of cling, and oooodles of flavour.
For the gnocchi, you need:
White flour – 1 cup
Boiled grated potatoes – 3 medium
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil – 2 glugs
Garlic – 5 cloves, finely chopped or crushed
Tomatoes – 3 medium
Onions – 1, medium
Dried red chilli flakes – 2 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Basil leaves – ½ cup
For the tomato sauce:
Heat a large pan until hot and add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and fry for 4-5 minutes until softened.
This is how I like to use my tomatoes for a smooth sauce. Boil them in clean water for about 8-10 minutes or until you see the skin coming off. Once they are cooled off, take the skin off, and chop up into roughly chopped pieces. Add this to the pan with the onion and garlic.
Once you see that everything is cooked through, cool it down and blend. Pass through a sieve if you like the sauce to be really thin. If you like it slightly rustic, you can leave it so. It’s all about personal tastes and preferences guys!!
Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Halfway through the cooking time, add the basil leaves.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Leave to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and set aside.
For the gnocchi:
Place the potatoes into a pan and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Drain and return to the pan then place back over low heat for a few seconds to remove any excess moisture. Pass the boiled potato through a potato ricer or simply grate so it makes a luscious mash without any lumps
Add the flour, one tablespoon of the olive oil and knead until smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Roll them into small balls and pass them over a fork for a nice little design. Dust some flour on them to avoid them from sticking to each other.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Put in about 10-12 gnocchi in to boil.
The gnocchi will sink when it hits the water. As soon as it floats to the top, cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Remove the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat the process with any remaining dough. Heat a frying pan until hot then add the remaining olive oil. Add the gnocchi and fry until golden brown.
Toss them with your sauce and garnish with fresh basil leaves and some freshly grated parmesan.