Gnocching on heaven’s door

Today I thought it was time to open the heaviest cookbook in my collection. The Silver Spoon. It is a well-known cookbook with over 2000 traditional Italian recipes. This book alone could keep this blog going for over 5 years…

I love Italian food. My Dad used to have a pasta machine and I remember him hanging his home made spaghetti everywhere to dry. I also remember him swearing like a sailor once because his gnocchi  were less soft dumplings and more rubber bullets. I can’t remember him ever trying to make gnocchi again. So today I will try making these delicious small Italian dumplings myself. You can make gnocchi from different ingredients but as I have some boiled potatoes left from last night’s supper, I decided to have a go at making some potato gnocchi. The recipe from the Silver Spoon sounded simple enough: Steam 1kg potatoes for approx. 25 minutes and mash. So far so good.

Add 200g of flour, one beaten egg and a generous pinch of salt and mix until you get a soft, smooth dough. Be precise with the flour as too much of it will turn your gnocchi into rubber bullets. Also, to get the best results some swearing is required because mixing the dough with your bare hands while the potatoes are still hot is bloody uncomfortable. Mixing it with a fork, whisker or wooden spoon did not work.

And the next bit can make one lose one’s temper as well….

Roll the dough into sausages that are approx. 1.5 in diameter. Rolling the dough is a very sticky matter as it is very moist but I was afraid of putting too much flour in them (remember: rubber bullets) and tried only adding very little on the rolling surface. When rolled out, cut into pieces of approx. 2cm and then put the gnocchi on a floured towel.

Boil the gnocchi in water until they float on the surface and are ready to eat.

To my great pleasure the gnocchi turned out fine and edible. I served my gnocchi with a sauce made from tinned tomatoes, dried tomatoes, olives and anchovies.

Traditionally gnocchi are served as a primo piatto, i.e. first course followed by a meat dish as secondo piatto.  The gnocchi are, however, rich and filling enough for a main course (this recipe should feed 4 people at least). I will therefore skip the secondo piatto and eat some leftover Guinness ice cream instead!

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