Last week we took a longer walk with the little one in the carrier, and when we got back home, we wanted something homemade, that is both rich and filling, yet easy to make and not at all time consuming. I thought of gnocchi. Not exactly just pasta, their kind of fun texture and surface that simply marries to the sauce they are served with make gnocchi every generation’s favourite. This is an easy gnocchi recipe that doesn’t just use potatoes but upgrades this feature a step or two: it uses baked potatoes.
It remains a very easy gnocchi recipe, though.
These taste rich. For an easy and quickly prepared homemade pasta, they pack something that even more renowned dishes do not.I can not put my finger down to what that could be. Maybe potatoes, maybe the techniques, but I don’t care, really. Because of the richness that these homemade gnocchi present, I got away with a very basic sauce. Tomato passata, garlic, dried basil and one garlic clove. The whole preparation didn’t take very long. Plus, it is one of those recipes that let you take a step, and then do something else for a while.
Ingredients for this easy gnocchi recipe (for two people)
- 7 small potatoes
- 150 g four
- 2 dl water
- salt and pepper
- dried basil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Ingredients for the sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 dl tomato passata
- salt and pepper
- dried oregano
Preheat oven to 200°C and halve the unpeeled potatoes. You could peel them, but it would just consume your precious time, and drain nutrients and taste out of the dish. If the potatoes are big, cut them in four instead of two pieces. It is important that you bake them in small pieces, because they are done quicker that way, and taste better, because they brown nicer.
Sprinke some salt and pepper on top, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake on baking paper until done. It usually takes at least 30 minutes, but check frequently as you bake. Once done, mash them in a big bowl.
In another (smaller) bowl, mix flour and water until it starts looking like dough or a batter. Let it rest for 10 minutes and then transfer into the big bowl with potatoes inside. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt (careful with salt, you already salted the potatoes before baking, remember?), pepper and basil. Mix and knead very well.
If what you ended up with seems too wet, add more flour. If too dry and dense, and disintegrates when you try to sculpt it into fun figures, add some more water. Seems kind of logical.
You need unpeeled potatoes for this easy gnocchi recipe. Less work, more taste!
You should end up with a rustic looking dough with visible potato lumps and peelings. Let it rest for another 10 minutes. Then roll it into a 1,5 cm to 2 cm sheet and then cut it into gnocchi or desired size.
Boil quite a lot of slightly salted water in the biggest pot you have. You need to cook homemade gnocchi (as opposed to the frozen ones) in a big bowl and a lot of water, or they might stick to each other and the walls too much. Cook them for 15 – 20 minutes in simmering water.
In the meantime, heat up two pans. In the first one, you will slightly fry the gnocchi until they get a rich skin. Sometimes it peels off and sticks to the bottom of the pan, but don’t cry about it, because you are still going to eat it, and as a bonus, a new skin will form. Just scrape the peeled one from the pan. Mmmmm, delicious!
In the second pan, you will make a sauce. It is an easy one, but I made it “in reverse order”. Meaning I heated up the pan with some olive oil in it, and then poured in the passata and reduced it a bit. I didn’t start with garlic as usual, and although I do not have a very good reason for it, it turned out great. Somewhat fresher.
The sauce is made in reverse order. For no apparent reason, but it works! 😀
Okay, when the tomato passata reduces, becomes thicker and richer, put in the remaining ingredient (2 cloves finely chopped garlic, 1 dl tomato passata, salt, pepper and dried oregano) and simmer for another minute.
Mix with fried gnocchi and serve. Isn’t this an easy gnocchi recipe? The last thing I should have mentioned earlier is: use flour with gluten. The gluten-free variety will give no bonding material, and you will have to resort to another kind of “glue” if you don’t wish to end up with a mash instead of gnocchi.