Gnocchi is a great little twist on a pasta dinner, and it’s quick cooking so it’s a fantastic mid week meal. Buy the pre-made stuff for fast meals, but if you want to take some time over it, then try making your own gnocchi on the weekends. The technique is easy but takes some time, and make sure you keep your potatoes dry to make for softer pillows of yumminess. INstructions for making gnocchi are included in some of the recipe links below.
Gnocchi is made from potato and flour and is usually classed as a different variety of pasta. While the most common types of gnocchi are made with white potatoes, you can also make or buy sweet potato or pumpkin gnocchi as well. It usually looks like little pillows and they come in large or small sizes, with the largest usually being the same size as a medjool date. Sometimes they come with lines across the top, which is usually just the impression of a fork, which gives you more sauce per individual gnocchi.
|Here’s a packet of mini gnocchi, which takes no time at all to cook.|
This method isn’t fool-proof, as the cooking time will depend on whether you want to eat the gnocchi a bit firmer or softer. It also depends whether you are going to cook the gnocchi further after the boiling (like in the fry pan with the sauce). You’ll just have to experiment, but with the larger ones I usually give it a few minutes extra to make sure they’re cooked through to the middle.
|These are mini gnocchi but you can buy bigger ones too.|
Gnocchi with tomato sauce – A simple way to serve gnocchi is with a simply made pasta sauce made from tomatoes. You can add a tin of diced tomatoes like I mentioned in my post on Dinner ideas using a can of tomatoes, or you can throw a few ripe tomatoes into a pan and wait for them to break down, just like in this recipe from Poh & Co. on SBS. A warning though that this recipe also teaches you how to make the gnocchi so practice the technique on the weekend before you decide to make it after work on a Wednesday.
Here’s a simpler recipe for tomato and basil sauce from BBC Good Food. But you can also adjust your plain tomato based sauce by adding bacon, olives, chilli, pesto or anything else you might like to add. Try this recipe for tomato and olive gnocchi, which uses ricotta gnocchi that is dead easy to make.
Gnocchi with vegetables – the easiest way to make a healthy gnocchi is to lightly fry a few quick cooking vegetables in a pan with two or three times the amount of oil you would usually use (you can choose a flavoured oil for extra taste if you like). Use vegetables like spinach, zucchini, peas, grated carrots, tinned artichokes, roasted capsicum or sun-dried tomatoes. Add some garlic and a few cherry tomatoes and only cook it for a few minutes, just so the vegetables are softened. Throw in the cooked gnocchi and some spinach or rocket, coat everything in the sauce and serve with some shredded smoked salmon and Parmesan. This is the gnocchi of choice for me and my hubby and it only takes about 15 minutes to make mid-week.
|Gnocchi made with cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini and rocket.|
Gnocchi with butter sauce – Often in restaurants you can get gnocchi in burnt butter sauce. It’s a sauce made from butter, obviously, that tastes best when eaten straight away. There’s only a few ingredients so it’s a simple sauce to make, and most often includes fresh sage so the butter has some extra flavour. Try this recipe from Taste.com.au for broccoli and lemon gnocchi for yourself. Or here’s a gourmet recipe for prawn and miso gnocchi.Gnocchi with meat sauce – Just like any other pasta dish you can make a meat sauce to go over your gnocchi. A simple bolognaise is easy, or on the weekend try a ragu (the Italian version of bolognaise cooked slowly with a piece of beef, not with mince). This is the ragu recipe I made two months ago, which my husband and I both loved with some penne, and I used the leftovers as the filling for a meat pie. Here’s another recipe for gnocchi with ragu too.
|These beef pies were made using the leftover ragu.|
And if after all that you can’t find a recipe you like, put gnocchi into the search engine of Taste.com.au and you’ll find 145 recipes – hopefully you’ll be able to try one you love and that suits your skill level.
It’s easiest to serve gnocchi in a bowl but you can pile it on top of a dinner plate as well. Sprinkle over some Parmesan cheese, feta cheese or other strong flavoured hard cheese and some freshly chopped herbs and you’ve got yourself a great meal.
|Vegetable gnocchi with smoked salmon and parmesan cheese.|