Gnocchi with parmesan is the classic taste of Italy

Parmesan gnocci with summer veg and mozzarella.    Picture: Paul Jacobs (132590-5)
Parmesan gnocci with summer veg and mozzarella. Picture: Paul Jacobs (132590-5)

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For this week’s recipe we have decided to make the Italian classic of gnocchi.

The word gnocchi most probably derives from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood, and has been around since the Roman times.

Gnocchi are dumplings which are normally made with semolina, wheat flour, egg and potato. The introduction of potato in gnocchi is quite a recent innovation, beginning in the 16th century when potatoes were introduced to Europe. Potato gnocchi is particularly popular in coastal cities of Italy.

As an extra tip, dishes using mashed potato are best prepared with floury potatoes to keep a lighter texture.

Like many Italian dishes, gnocchi varies from region to region. The Tuscan version, called malfatti, literally translates to ‘poorly made’. It’s made from ricotta and spinach.

The Pugliese version is made from a flour base, and other varieties include the Croatian njoki.

It is normally eaten in Italy as a first course, but we currently have a smoked bacon version on our menu with the 30-hour belly of pork.

In all good restaurants they are freshly made, but you can get gnocchi in some supermarkets and delicatessens.

We are going to show you a classic recipe, which you can adapt to your liking. We have chosen to use baby vegetables, mozzarella and hazelnuts, but let your imagination create your own dish.

Kevin Bingham is the chef patron of Restaurant 27 at Southsea. Call (023) 9287 6272.

PARMESAN GNOCCHI

(Serves four)

Ingredients:

Two large baking potatoes (400g each)

160g plain flour

Salt and pepper

One egg yolk

100g Parmesan, finely grated

Olive oil

Equipment:

Baking tray

Large mixing bowl

Chopping board

Grater

Knife

Spoon

Saucepan

Sieve

Potato masher

Frying pan

Kitchen roll

Method:

Preheat the oven to gas mark four.

Bake the potatoes until cooked, so approximately an hour.

Cut the potato in half, scoop out the flesh and mash it in a bowl.

Mix with flour, seasoning, egg yolk and grated Parmesan. Then add a little olive oil.

Knead to form a soft dough.

Place on to a lightly floured surface, then roll out the dough to form a long cigar shape.

Leave to cool for around five minutes.

Cut into one-inch pillows.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil. Once boiled, drop the gnocchi into water and simmer for two to three minutes until the gnocchi starts to float.

Place them straight into cold water to refresh, then drain once cold.

When ready to serve, place a frying pan over a medium heat. Sauté the gnocchi for two to three minutes until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper