Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Spare A Thought (And A Spud) For Gnocchi

I have a recollection of comedienne Sue Perkins once making a joke about her family when she was growing up, and how they always used yesterdays leftovers for that evening's meal. Their meals therefore effectively dated back to the original meal in the early 1970's!

Whilst we cannot claim to be that extreme we do on occasions have leftovers that, if not suitable for lunch the next day, will no doubt end up in the evening meal.  Food never, never goes to waste in our house!

One of the common leftovers is potatoes and particularly baked potatoes.  Whilst the oven is on and you are feeling hungry in anticipation of soft, hot fluffy baked spuds there is always the temptation of overkill when it comes to preparing the required number.  Undoubtedly we end up with too many and I hear the imaginary voice of my mum whispering 'eyes bigger than bellies' in my ear as I stare at the resulting spares.  It is the next evening however that these leftovers show their true tasty potential when Phil transforms cold baked spud into potato gnocchi.

Gnocchi is actually a word for various forms of thick dumpling like pasta which, according to the region of Italy, are made from various forms of flour and other ingredients.  The potato gnocchi was only introduced when the potato was brought to Europe back in the 16th century.  This now traditional dish can be kept true to its simple peasant beginnings or transformed into the dizzy heights of dishes featured on Michelin starred menus.  Either way, it is comfort food at its best.

As the only stars we will ever see are those twinkling away in the night sky over the Cornish coast, we tend to keep things simple and true to our peasant ways!  So here is how Phil makes his gnocchi.

Phil's Peasant Potato Gnocchi

1.  Simply scrape out the inside of the leftover spuds into a nice big bowl.  The skin can then be consumed as a starter/entree/canape (delete as appropriate) whilst you rummage for some plain flour in the cupboard.  

2.  To the potato add a pinch of salt to taste, and just enough flour to bring the mixture to a kneadable dough.  

3.  Roll out the dough into a thin 'sausage' and then cut into about 1 inch pieces. Indent each piece with the tines of a fork (this helps them cook).

4.  Bring a pan of water to a boil and then drop the pieces in.  Don't overcrowd them at this stage or they will stick to each other.  When they are ready they will float to the top.  This should only take 2 or 3 minutes.  Remove them with a slotted spoon and put aside whilst you boil the rest.

5.  Then simply fry until browned and crispy on the outside and enjoy with or without a sauce (we made a simple leek and cheese sauce but a tomato one would be equally nice).


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