Do you eat a lot of pasta? We do. I try to limit it to only two or three times a week, but it’s easy, convenient, tasty and versatile. And I think DH would happily eat it every night, left to his own devices. (I think that maybe he did, before he met me…)
Anyway, Pesach will soon be here, so an enforced pasta-free week is looming on the horizon. Dreading the thought of having to go eight whole days without a bowl of steaming carbs topped with sauce and cheese, I decided to have a go at making potato gnocchi instead. They’re basically pasta, right?
Traditional gnocchi are made from a mixture of potato, egg and wheat flour, so are off the menu for Pesach along with their pasta-y cousins. However, having read endless articles about making them, and the roles of the various ingredients, etc. etc. I was confident that I could make them without wheat flour. It was time to test the hypothesis.
According to more than one of the sources I read, the main purpose of the flour is to absorb excess water, so by keeping the potato part really dry, you can reduce the amount of flour required. Sounds plausible. I baked my potatoes on a bed of salt to really dry them out during cooking, then scooped out the flesh while still hot to allow more steam to escape. The resulting mash was certainly dry (and fluffy) in appearance at least.
I only used 1 egg to bind, again to keep the moisture content down, and then I added just enough potato flour to bring the mixture together into a dough. Chilling helped to firm it up, but it isn’t essential.
I divided up the dough, and added cheese to one half. We all thought the cheesy ones were tastier, but if you keep kosher and wanted to serve them with a meat sauce, the plain ones are pretty good too. We had our plain ones with olive oil & garlic, and our cheesy ones with tomato sauce. (In the recipe I’ve given the amounts to make a FULL BATCH of cheesy gnocchi.)
These were surprisingly easy to make – even with Kipper helping to roll out and make fork-marks in them! This recipe makes about 1kg of gnocchi. They will keep in the fridge for a day or two, or you can freeze them and then cook from frozen.
One last thing – they do swell up quite a bit when you boil them. We made our first ones approximately the size we were aiming for when cooked, and they came out HUGE! Roll out the sausage to the thickness of a thumb, and cut into 1-1.5cm lengths. They will only look small until you boil them!
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- 4 large baking potatoes (approx. 1.3-1.5 kg)
- 1 egg
- 100g potato flour (generous 3/4 cup) + extra for rolling out
- 35g grated parmesan (scant half cup) (optional)
- 65g grated cheddar (2/3 cup) (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 190C (375F). Stab the potatoes several times with a fork, and arrange on a baking sheet. (You may like to place them on a layer of salt crystals.) Bake at 190C for 1-1.5 hours until cooked through and soft.
- Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh. Grate the flesh by hand or using a food processor, or pass through a potato ricer. Collect the potato flesh in a large mixing bowl and leave to cool. (At this stage I had just over 900g of cooked potato.)
- Add the egg and 100g potato flour and mix well to create a dough. If you are using the cheeses, add them now, and mix and knead to combine. The dough should be smooth and not sticky. If necessary, add a little more potato flour.
- Dust a surface with potato flour. Break off pieces of the dough and roll out into long sausages about the thickness of a thumb. Cut each sausage into 1-1.5cm lengths, and press the tines of a fork into each piece to create ridges.
- You can cook the gnocchi straightaway, or refrigerate or freeze them till required.
- To cook, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Carefully add the gnocchi, and bring back to the boil. The gnocchi will float up to the surface. Once they are floating, cook for a further 1-2 minutes, then drain.
- Serve hot with your favourite sauce.
- The gnocchi will keep for a day or two in the fridge, or longer in the freezer.