One of my fondest travel memories was sitting down to bowl of gnocchi after a wonderful day exploring the charming Italian town of Sorrento. It was not a fancy plate of food, actually it was quite rustic, but it was honest and delicious. And I instantly fell in love with this Italian dumpling. Which is not at all surprising as it has one of my all time favourites, the potato, as its main ingredient. The word gnocchi is believed to be derived from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood, or from nocca, meaning knuckle.
Gnocchi (singular gnocco) are usually eaten as a first course, but they can also be served as a side dish. We eat it as a main course served with a Neopolitan (or bolognese) sauce, or drizzled with olive oil and topped with lots of freshly ground black pepper and Parmesan shavings. Because gnocchi is so easy to make – it is the perfect dish to quickly rustle up on a weeknight. There are many recipe on the internet, but I like this recipe from Garth Stroebel’s cookbook Modern South African Cuisine. Give it go for next week’s Meatless Monday and let me know what you think.
This is what you need:
500 gr potatoes, boiled with the skin on, then peeled and mashed finely.
100 gr plain (cake) flour
5 ml prepared English mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 litres vegetable stock for poaching (you could also use salted water)
This is how:
- Combine the mashed potatoes, flour, egg, mustard and seasoning in a bowl.
- Heat the vegetable stock in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Roll the potato mixture into shapes of your choice. I have found rolling a thin ‘sausage’ shape on a floured counter top and then cutting it into pieces works well.
- Pop the gnocchi into the simmering stock, in batches, until the dumplings float to the surface. Remove from the stock, drain and keep warm.
- Serve with your chosen topping.