How to make Gnocchi like an Italian
Home-made gnocchi are truly delicious and much easier to prepare than you might imagine. However shop-bought, vacuum-packed ones are fine to serve with a simple sauce like this if you’re short of time.
400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 sprig rosemary or thyme, or a couple of bay leaves
pinch of crushed chillies (optional)
60g/2¼oz packet wild rocket
For the gnocchi
500g/1lb 2oz waxy potatoes such as red skins or new potatoes, peeled and diced
15g/½oz fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
200g/7oz plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Begin by making the sauce. Place the tomatoes in a small pan, then half fill the can with water and add that to the pan.
Stir in the shallot, garlic, herbs, chillies and salt and black pepper.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently for at least an hour until thickened and dark red.
Meanwhile, to make the gnocchi, boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes until tender then drain.
Mash them well – this bit is important because lumps will be noticeable in the gnocchi,
so use a potato ricer if you have one, or mash the potatoes thoroughly to as smooth a texture as possible.
Sprinkle over the basil, plenty of salt and black pepper and the flour. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, bring together to make a firm dough.
Knead the dough gently for a couple of minutes then roll out into sausages about 1cm (0.5in) thick. Cut the sausages into pieces 2.5cm(1in) long.
Gently cook the gnocchi in a pan of simmering water for a miminute or two until they rise to the surface.
Scoop them out as they rise, toss with the tomato sauce and rocket leaves and serve.