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Posts Tagged ‘Gnocchi’

Simply Gnocchi

GnoochiMDLiving in Central London is a privilege, but it also comes with a few drawbacks. One of them is sourcing fresh ingredients.  Taking the car anywhere during the day for me is a fraught affair, and even if I actually manage to get to my destination, finding a parking space is like trying to find a hen’s teeth.  So I resort to either catching a bus or walking.

My quest for ingredients takes me all over London. The Athenian in Moscow Road for Greek, Green Valley in Upper Berkeley Street for Lebanese, Church Street Market off Edgware Road for fruit and vegetables, not to mention an array of little shops dotted all over the metropolis.

Today I wanted Italian, so I took the twenty-minute walk up to Little Italy in Clerkenwell, cutting through the busy Leather Lane market – giving the sole surviving vegetable stall a quick glance as I strolled past.   The market mainly caters for lunch time office workers who want fast food and cheap clothes.    Right at the end of the market on the opposite side of the road stands Terroni & Son – the oldest deli in London that has been going since 1878.  I have been visiting them now for nearly twenty years.  As the years have gone by the shop has changed beyond recognition.  I know change is good but I hanker after the old days. When the deli was packed to the rafters with produce and there was always a noisy background of Sicilian banter.

The shop has been opened up, allowing the light to flood in.  The islands of shelves that were once tightly packed with every imaginable Italian produce now gone, replaced with long sleek modern tables and chairs.  Terroni’s now serves coffee, lunches and snacks and very good ones at that.

There is still a trace of the old shop in the two large glass counters that sit at the back of the shop showcasing an array of charcuterie, cheeses, Italian sausages and a fine selection of Italian sweets and cakes.  I tend to stand at the charcuterie side to give my order so as not to be tempted by the cakes.  I can resist as long as I don’t catch sight of the sfogliatelle – then all is lost.

Today I had a bigger problem to deal with – they no longer appear to sell pasta flour.  I haven’t visited them all summer and so it came as a bit of a shock to find the eating area has expanded and as a result their selection of dry goods has decreased.  This is not good.  It throws out of the window my carefully planned meal of ravioli.  I am not good with change and cannot think what to do.  I buy my cheese and bread and leave.  Succumbing only to the smallest box of sweet delicacies – I need to ponder on this new problem of where to get pasta flour.

As I walk back through Hatton Garden I try and think what I am going to cook for supper.  To add to my misery it starts to rain.  I rack my brains of what is in the cupboard that will make a meal and save me from trekking elsewhere.  All there is in the fridge of any note is a large bag of potatoes. Then it comes to me – Gnocchi!!!  Necessity is the mother of invention.

It’s straight back home, feet up and maybe a small reward from inside the cake box before I put my potatoes on to cook.

Gnocchi is the simplest and most heavenly of recipes.  A few potatoes can be turned into light soft potato dumplings that melt in the mouth.   As my ingredients were limited I went for the simple accompaniment of sage and butter with a generous heap of Pecorino.Gnoochi2MD

Gnocchi

2 –3 servings

Ingredients

500g  floury potatoes (Maris piper, King Edwards or Desiree are good).

Salt

50-75 gm 00 pasta flour

1 egg yolk

Extra flour for rolling out

Method

Put unpeeled potatoes in a pan filled with cold water and bring to the boil.  Cook until tender.  Drain.  Allow to cool slightly and then remove the skins.  Push the potatoes through a ricer.  The potatoes should be cool before adding the egg yolk and some of the flour.  Knead lightly.  If you feel the mixture is too wet add more of the flour.  I start off with 50 gms and add more if needed.

Flatten the dough into a rough flat square and cut into roughly 2cm wide strips.  Take a strip and lightly roll into a sausage shape.  Cut into 2/3 cms pieces.

Take each gnocchi piece and with your thumb gently push it against the tines of an upturned fork which we give you a groove to one side and roll back.  This will make an indentation to the gnocchi.  Place the gnocchi onto a floured tray and repeat.

To cook – bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and then carefully drop them in – be careful as they can splash back which can be a little painful on the hand.  Give the pan a gentle stir and wait for them to start to rise to the surface.  This will take about a minute.  Once they have risen wait ten to twenty seconds and then remove them with a slotted spoon.

Butter and Sage Sauce

Ingredients

2/3 oz butter

6 sage leaves fresh

Salt and pepper

Method

Put the butter in a pan and heat.  Add the sage leaves and seasoning and tilt the pan to turn the sage leaves.  The butter will turn a caramel colour.  Take off the heat and toss the gnocchi in coating them well.

Serve with a generous helping of Pecorino

N.B:

I didn’t have even shaped potatoes so I put in the pan what I had, checking the smaller ones first, and as soon as they were tender taking them out.

Instead of a fork I used a gnocchi ridger which also doubles up to make garganelli pasta (which is similar to penne).

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