Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Move Over Leftovers - Cant Knock the Gnocchi!

Christmas food... Will it never end!?

We still have some mincemeat and baddies to chomp through, but yesterday we tackled the leftover mash.  Shoved in a box with some cabbage and sprouts, bubble and squeak sprang to mind.

And then I thought, no! Away with your boring and predictable squeaky thing. These lovely spuds have been finished with truffle oil* - is that any way to treat them?

Peering in the fridge, I also saw we had leftover cream, a few almonds that had been mixed in with the sprouts, three lonely and forlorn-looking mushrooms and a butternut squash. I thought, put me on Ready Steady Cook right now, because I know what I'm going to do with these babies.

How do you make gnocchi? Well, they're so easy - I think these little potato dumplings are far easier to make than your normal egg pasta.

In a bowl, I had about 300g of mashed potato (by sight, this is a fairly hungry person's single portion of mash, or about 5 scoops) and mixed in one egg. Then I sieved in some plain flour, bit by bit, stirring with a wooden spoon until it started to clump in a dough-y way. You need to get your hands in to be sure you've put in the right amount of flour, but you should end up with something a bit squidgier than play-dough, not dry and crumbly, not stuck to your hands either, and it will be just less than double the size of the mash you started with.

If you think this is a bit slap dash, it is. If you want the posh way of making gnocchi with potato ricers, and paddles and faff, try the Guardian website. Honestly, cooking spuds specifically for gnocchi is a waste of time and energy; I think you get better results with cold leftover mash.

Once you have your dough, grab lumps and roll into sausages with your hands, then cut into lumps and roll with a fork to make little notches (very important for holding the sauce).

Her's my motley crew.

Look, I didn't say I was Gennaro Contaldo.
You want them to be the same size really, because that will affect the cooking. I am a maverick when it comes to the shaping and sizing of my gnocchi.

Put a pan of water to boil and add the Suzie Salt just as it's bubbling (salted water takes longer to boil and I am Richard Osman). put the gnocchi in - they will sink. They will take 4-5 minutes to cook. When they are ready they will come to the surface, but leave them a few seconds bobbing up and down before removing from the pan. Fry them if you want to. I didn't.

My gnocchi then, served in a sauce made by softening some onions and crushed garlic in pan with butter, adding chopped mushrooms and roasted butternut squash, white pepper, sage, nutmeg, a slosh of cream, and finishing with some grated cheddar. It's lumpy and pale orange, but lush.
Ah, I'm a maverick when it comes to presentation and artful photography too.

*Truffle oil was a freebie from someone who had been given it but didn't think they'd ever use it. I know!

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