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Potato Gnocchi with Puttanesca Sauce

Potato Gnocchi with Puttanesca Sauce

Recipe adapted from Cook Republic Blog - Homemade Gnocchi Puttanesca

I’ve shied away from gnocchi plenty of times. I remember making it once as a kid thinking the trick to tender gnocchi was as little flour as possible (who told me that!?), which inevitably resulted in a gloopy potato mess and an unsatisfying dinner. But, as I was scrolling through one of my favourite blogs wondering what I’d cook for my family for dinner, the potato gnocchi puttanesca from Cook Republic really caught my eye and I decided to give it another go and you should too!

I used this recipe as a guide in classic Lil sense – I really struggle to follow a recipe. Adding more veggies to the sauce, less anchovies (no worries Mum), and changing the method of cooking the potatoes. Another tip I’ve heard is that water is the enemy to potatoes in a good gnocchi. Not sure if this is true (as I’ve never boiled or steamed potatoes for gnocchi) but I ran with this and decided to bake the potatoes instead. My gnocchi was pretty good, If I do say so myself so, I’d suggest baking the spuds.

It is a bit of work but if you have the time it is completely worth it. There is something so satisfying about a completely homemade meal, don’t you agree?

 

Potato Gnocchi with Puttanesca Sauce
Serves 4-6 generous serves

Ingredients

for the gnocchi

1kg potatoes, baked and semi cooled (I used Desiree) (see notes)
1 cup plain flour (and extra to dust)
1 egg
½ tsp sea salt flakes
freshly ground pepper
parmesan/vegan feta to serve

·      To make the gnocchi vegan. Omit the egg, add a flax egg instead. Omit the anchovies, it’ll be flavoursome enough without.

For the puttanesca

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 carrot, finely diced
1 zucchini finely diced
2 garlic gloves, finely minced
1 sprig each of rosemary and thyme, leaves finely chopped
half a fresh chilli (optional)
60 baby capers, drained
100g, black or green olives, sliced
30g anchovies in oil, drained and chopped
some dried oregano, to taste
400g can chopped tomatoes
350ml passata
handful of parsley finely chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

Method

To make the gnocchi

1.     Peel the potatoes from their skin and mash in a bowl using a potato masher. Don’t worry if there small chunks of potato, you won’t notice (unless you’re a perfectionist).

2.     Add the egg and flour and mix with your hands to form a dough ball. It should be nice and sticky but firm enough to roll. Divide into 4 portions.

3.     Dust a work surface with flour. Working with one portion at a time, roll each into a ball. Then, using your hands as if they were a rolling pin, start stretching the dough to form a long snake like shape. Roll to desired thickness, roughly 2-3cm in width. Keep dusting with flour to avoid sticking.

4.     Using a small knife, cut the dough into 2cm pieces and place onto a tray lined with baking paper. Continue until all the dough has been used. If making in advance you could freeze the gnocchi here or place in fridge to cook later.

 

To make the sauce

1.     Heat the oil in a large sauté style pan big enough for your sauce and gnocchi.  

2.     Add the carrot and zucchini and saute until tender (3-5 mins)

3.     Add the minced garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add the herbs, chilli if using, capers, olives, anchovies, oregano and saute until fragrant.

4.     Add the chopped tomatoes and passata, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened and fragrant. Season with pepper and salt if needed and remove from heat until you’re ready to cook the gnocchi.

Put it all together!

1.     Heat the sauce on a low setting so it is gently simmering, awaiting your gnocchi.

2.     Bring water to a boil in a large (as big as ya got!) saucepan. Once boiling, drop gnocchi gently into the boiling water (not all at once as this will drop the temperature of the water too rapidly).

3.     You will know the gnocchi is cooked when it floats to the top (roughly 2-3 mins). Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and drop into the puttanesca sauce. It won’t overcook in the sauce, in fact it’ll just absorb all the yummy flavours so don’t stress if the gnocchi takes a while to cook.

4.     Repeat until all the gnocchi is cooked.

5.     Divide among bowls, top with fresh chopped parsley or basil and parmesan or vegan cheese alternative. Eat!

 

Notes

-       I chucked the potatoes straight into the oven – just resting on the racks for roughly 1.5 hours (depending on size) in a 160 degree fan forced oven. Cut a small slit into each potato to avoid bursting skin.

-       You won’t need to add much salt to the sauce due to the salty nature of the olives, capers and anchovies.

-       You can make the sauce or the gnocchi a few hours before serving. The sauce is even more delicious if it has been left to sit for an hour or so to absorb all the flavours.

-       Leftover gnocchi the next day is arguably even better than when its fresh, just keep that in mind before you head for seconds.  

-       To make the gnocchi vegan, replace the egg with a flax egg. What’s a flax egg? Just mix up one tablespoon of flax meal with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for a few minutes until it forms a glaggy paste resembling an egg! It’ll do the trick.

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