Gnocchi are a cross between a dumpling and a sort of potato pasta – comforting, thick and soft. They are easy to ‘gnocch’ together from a tin of potatoes, or boil fresh potatoes if you prefer. Traditionally served with butter and herbs, I toss mine in home-made pesto.
500g tinned potatoes (drained weight)
A handful of fresh parsley
1 egg, beaten
100g flour, plus extra to knead the dough
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook to warm through – around 5 minutes. While they are boiling, finely chop the parsley.
When the potatoes are done, lift them out with a slotted spoon and pop into a mixing bowl, reserving the water to use in a minute. Mash the potatoes quickly, stir in the egg and parsley, and mix well to combine. Add the flour and work into the mashed potato to form a thick, floury mixture.
Tip the mixture out on to a floured surface and use your hands to work it for a few minutes to create a soft dough.
Take a handful of the dough and roll it into a long thin sausage, about 2.5cm thick. Cut this sausage into pieces, also about 2.5cm thick. Press a fork into the top of each piece to create the ridges and place the finished gnocchi on the side. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Bring the pan of water back to the boil. Lower the gnocchi in a few at a time and remove with a slotted spoon when they rise to the surface. Repeat until all the gnocchi have been cooked.
Substitute sweet potatoes for the normal tinned potatoes (the sweet potatoes will need peeling, cutting into cubes and boiling to cook through since they’re not tinned) and add a pinch of dried chilli flakes and a peeled and crushed clove of garlic instead of the parsley.
For amazing parsnip and thyme gnocchi, use 250g parsnips (boil to cook through first), instead of half the potatoes and fresh thyme leaves in place of the parsley.
Leftover gnocchi can be frozen in an airtight container, and defrosted by bringing to the boil in a saucepan of water and cooking through. Alternatively, defrost at room temperature, pop in a roasting dish with a little oil, and roast for 20 minutes at 180°C/350°F/gas 4 for a cross between a roast potato and a potato croquette.
All recipes can be made with a budget of just £10 a week
Recipes extracted from 'A Girl Called Jack' by Jack Monroe (Michael Joseph, £12.99)