Herb Gnocchi with Tomato Salsa

Gnocchi is my thing. Pasta made with potato. It’s a carb-lover’s dream come true. I like my gnocchi homemade. It requires a bit more work but totally worth it. If you have never made your own gnocchi, you are missing out! I went with another Gordon Ramsay recipe for this one. But I made adjustments.

I followed his prep technique in baking the potatoes instead of boiling them first but having made gnocchi without egg, I ditched it in favour of a little water to bind everything. (If you want an excellent homemade gnocchi recipe that is already vegan, I highly recommend Donna Klein’s Potato Gnocchi with Pesto from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.) Sauteing the gnocchi after it was cooked was also new to me. I opted for olive oil instead of butter. The salsa was done exactly to recipe except for the Tobasco – which I didn’t include.

from Gordon Ramsay’s Secrets

Ingredients

For the gnocchi

  • 2 large baking potatoes, about 400g each
  • 160g plain flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 50g butter

For the salsa

  • 6 vine-ripened plum tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • a generous dash of Tabasco
  • 1 tbsp basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Scrub the potatoes, but don’t score or slit them. Bake for about 1¼ hours until soft in the centre when pierced with a skewer. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then peel off the skins. Mash the potato flesh in a bowl or press through a potato ricer, then leave to cool completely.

When the mash is cool, mix in the flour and salt until evenly incorporated, then add the herbs. Gradually work in the beaten egg until you have a smooth, firm dough – you may not need to add all of it.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Have ready a large bowl of iced water. Divide the dough into 8 balls, then roll each out on a lightly floured surface to a long, narrow sausage, about 30cm long, and flatten very slightly to make an oval shape. Cut the rolls, slightly on the diagonal, into 3cm lengths, using the back of a table knife or thick cook’s knife.

Cook the gnocchi in batches. Add about a quarter of them to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they rise to the surface. Lift out with a slotted spoon and place in the bowl of iced water. Leave for a minute or so, then drain well and pat dry with kitchen paper. Repeat to cook the remaining gnocchi, always returning the water to a rolling boil in between.

When all the gnocchi are cooked and cooled, combine them in a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil to keep them separate, then cover with cling film and chill until required.

To make the salsa, dip the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds or so to loosen the skins, then into cold water to refresh; drain and peel away the skins. Quarter, core and deseed the tomatoes. Finely chop the flesh and place in a bowl with the other salsa ingredients. Toss to mix and season well, then spoon into a serving dish.

When ready to serve, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and half the butter in a large frying pan until hot. Sauté the gnocchi, in batches, for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm, uncovered in a low oven, while you sauté the rest of the gnocchi, using the remaining oil and butter as needed. Serve with the tomato salsa.

The Verdict One thumb up. One thumb down.

The gnocchi itself was great. The herbs added something extra and sauteing before serving helped to bring out the flavour of the pasta. Not as much a fan of using baked potatoes versus boiling russet potatoes.

The tomato salsa was a real disappointment on so many levels. First, no one should ever have to peel the skin off of a tomato. It is a torturous process that I nearly gave up on. At least now I know why Gordon Ramsay uses the F-word so much. Sheesh.  Second, I have come to the realization that I am a pretty traditional gal when it comes to what goes on top of my pasta. I like hot, thick, savoury sauces. And the salsa was definitely not that. It was raw and really belonged on a salad. I wouldn’t make this again.

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