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    Potato Gnocchi

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    Potato Gnocchi

    Provided they are made well, these classic Italian morsels are light and delicious, says Nikki Smith. So follow these simple rules and you can be sure of results to savour. These Italian dumplings are usually made from a blend of egg, flour and potato, though they can be made from other veg, too. They can be served as a delicious alternative to pasta, or to soak up the juices of a hearty stew.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 30 minutes
    • Cooking time: 30 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 60 minutes

    Serves: 4 as a main course


    • 800g floury potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper
    • 2 medium egg yolks, lightly beaten
    • 200g plain flour
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • Freshly grated nutmeg


    1. Peel the potatoes and cut into large, even pieces. Place in a pan of salted water, bring to the boil and boil for 8-10 minutes. Drain thoroughly, then return to the pan and place on a very low heat for 3-5 minutes to drive off all the moisture from the potatoes.
    2. Mash the potatoes, preferably with a mouli or potato ricer, then mix with the egg yolks, flour, seasoning and nutmeg. Tip out on to a floured work surface and knead lightly until smooth.
    3. Roll a fist-sized piece of dough into a sausage about 2cm in diameter.
    4. Cut this into 2cm pieces . Repeat with the rest of the dough.
    5. Use a fork to flatten the pieces evenly (see picture). Place on a floured tray, making sure they do not touch.
    6. Bring a pan of lightly salted water to a gentle boil. Drop in a third of the gnocchi. Simmer gently and don't stir or they may disintegrate. As they cook, they'll bob to the surface.
    7. Give them about 1 minute from the time they surface, then scoop out with a slotted spoon. Drain them on a plate lined with kitchen paper, then transfer to a warm dish. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi until all are cooked. Toss with hot sauce or melted butter and serve immediately.

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    Cook's tips

    The key with gnocchi, whatever you make them with, is to keep the dough very dry. For potato gnocchi, use only floury potatoes, and make sure they are completely dry before mashing. Some cooks even recommend baking the potatoes rather than boiling them.
    For potato gnocchi, mashing with a mouli or ricer ensures light, fluffy results, but an ordinary masher is fine. Don't overmix the dough and never use a processor or you will end up with a gluey mess.
    For guaranteed lightness in potato gnocchi, try replacing 25g of the plain flour with self-raising.
    Flattening the gnocchi helps them cook evenly, while the grooves from the fork pick up sauce.
    Gnocchi are best cooked and eaten as soon as possible after making. If you really want to make them in advance, arrange them on a floured tea towel, making sure they don't touch, cover with a second towel and refrigerate. Don't make them more than a few hours beforehand.
    Cook gnocchi in batches. If you overcrowd the pan, they'll take longer to cook and may fall apart. Heat the sauce you are going to serve them with and keep the cooked gnocchi warm in this.
    Fresh gnocchi are delicious with butter and grated Parmesan. However, they are also great with a rich tomato sauce, pesto, melted blue cheese and cream or any thick sauce that will cling to the ridges.s


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