Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jamie Oliver's Potato Gnocchi


I have a night in, alone.
Sjoerd has a dinner out with colleagues, which means I get to potter around in the kitchen.
Today my pottering has taken the form of gnocchi, and having pottered through several cookbook for a recipe, I came back to Jamie Oliver.

The last time I made gnocchi was a few years ago, and they ended up very soggy, watery and not very edible. That put me off again, until tonight. According to Jamie, the problem of soggy gnocchi lies in the fact that if you use boiled potatoes it is very difficult to get them dry. The trick is apparently bake them first - then the skins come out dry and crispy with fluffy insides. This leads to dry mash for the gnocchi....well I'm game to try, and I've got all night.

I thought it was going to be quite a long and drawn out procedure, but it wasn't. The longest part is baking the potatoes...so I put them in the oven, and went upstairs to do the ironing for the hour they were having their roast (I was in a domesticated mood!). And what's more, by the time you have scooped out their fluffy innerds this leaves potato skins...which provides me with ideas for tomorrow.

I just put Parmesan cheese over the top of these, and put it under the grill. The truth of the matter is, these looked so good that I want to save most of them to eat with Sjoerd tomorrow night!

Jamie Oliver's Potato Gnocchi

Makes a whole batch for 2-3 people

6 medium potatoes
Olive oil
Nutmeg, grated
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
Good grind of pepper
1 egg yolk
1-2 handfuls of plain flour
Cornmeal or semolina flour

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 deg C.

2. Rub the cleaned potatoes with olive oil, prick them all over with a fork and lay them on a roasting tray. Place in the oven for 1 hour until they are crispy on the outside and cooked (fluffy, soft) on the inside.

3. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then cut them in half, scoop out the fluffy inside and place it in a sieve (or a mouli or ricer if you have one of those - I don't!).

4. Press the potato through the sieve into a large bowl so that it looks like 'grated' potato. Don't be fooled -this is the start of wonderful dry mash ;=)

5. Add the nutmeg, salt, pepper and egg yolk to the sieved potato. Add enough flour to bind the mixture. Mix together and knead with your hands until you have a dry, doughy consistency. Add more flour if too wet, and water if too dry.

6. Divide the dough into three pieces and roll each piece out on a floured surface into long tubes the thickness of a sausage.

7. Cut each of the tubes into 2.5 cm pieces, then press the tines of a fork into both sides of the gnocchi to give the characteristic ribbed marking.

8. Place them on a a plate or tray sprinkled liberally with semolina or cornmeal, and allow to sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes to set.

9. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Drop the gnocchi into the water - how many you can fit in the pan depends on the size of the pan, because you don't want them sticking together. I used 10 in my pan.

10. The gnocchi are done when they rise to the surface of the boiling water.

11. Drain gently and carefully....otherwise they will end up as mashed potato! You can either use a slotted spoon, or gently drain in a colander.

12. Serve with whichever sauce you fancy - a tomato sauce, or grated cheese, or just tossed in butter and sage.

28 comments:

lindsay said...

i was using the exact same recipe tonight (feeling courageous to brave the gnocchi making territory), but mine completely disintegrated into the water... disappeared completely! and i know jamie mentions to use little flour (to keep it light), but is there such a thing as too little flour? (not according to his book!).. or did i just overcook them when i left the side of the stove to swing by the washroom??

Jayne Jubb said...

Hi Lindsay - you do need some flour in it to bind, but not too much because otherwise they end up tasting like wallpaper paste! Jamie's hint on doing it via the baked potato method works much better than just boiling them in water because otherwise they become just too soggy. They do need only a very brief cooking time: make sure your pan of water is boiling, and don't add too many that it stops boiling (or they will absorb more water and fall apart). Once they have risen to the surface (about a minute) then get them out of the pan a.s.a.p!! Will you try again?

centercounter said...

Absolutely... from what I've read (and I'm a novice still when it comes to gnocchi) 1 cup of flour for each potato, but I see recipes with 2 cups for 3 potatos and such. Also, unlike store-bought pastas, homemade pasta-genres (of which I consider gnocchi) cook in only a couple minutes as opposed to 10. I've read 6-8 minutes, but seen as little as 2. In other words - keep your eye on the prize! :P By the way - Jaynie - you were part of my sources for today's Thanksgiving Gnocchi (were THEY in for a surprise!)

Becky said...

I love this recipe. I actually had my first gnocchi experience at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in London, it was fantastic.
It only on odd occasions that I can make it but it is a treat!
I found the best sauce for it (which is slightly naughty) is Le Roule (soft garlic cheese) mixed with single cream and butter. GORGEOUS!

Anonymous said...

This was delicious! Went exceptionally well with a small domestic pet roast.

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to make gnocchi and I finally did! I'm so glad I used this recipe as it was perfect! Thanx

Anonymous said...

At 2:05 did you really say 'small domestic pet roast'? Guinea pig?

Might be quite good, actually. I've made Jamie's gnocchi and they were lovely.

Anonymous said...

At 2:05 did you really say 'small domestic pet roast'? Guinea pig?

Might be quite good, actually. I've made Jamie's gnocchi and they were lovely.

Tinkerbell said...

Guenia pig...hamster ewe could be a rat or mouse thats just sick

Tinkerbell said...

Guenia pig...hamster ewe could be a rat or mouse thats just sick

Clare said...

Thanks so much. we just made this and it was absolutely delicious. Perfect on the first try. My kids were shocked!

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Anonymous said...

Centrepoint - I would have thought that adding flour by the cup would usually be way too much. I was taught how to make gnocchi by my brother, whose a great chef, but usually use the Jamie Oliver recipe as a guide and reminder.

I microwave my spuds, usually only add a handful of flour (which is a handful not even half a cup really) and have had great success...

Essentially the flour determination is made by texture, enough so its not sticky any more, but not so much it starts feeling dense.

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