You can buy gnocchi ready-made at the supermarket or deli but they are very easy to make at home. Substitute cooked Swiss chard for the cooked spinach in this recipe if you wish. Try them with our home-made Grand Prix sauce for a real Italian treat (recipe included).
60g fresh spinach, rinsed
1kg potatoes (Maris Piper or Roosters are good, don’t use a waxy potato)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g plain flour plus more for dusting the board
100g ricotta cheese
1. Boil the spinach, cool and chop finely.
2. Boil the potatoes in their skins, peel while hot and mash. Add to the cooked spinach and add a grating of nutmeg, the eggs and season with salt and black pepper. Mix well.
3. Turn the mixture out onto a floured board and knead gently, adding the plain flour* as you go. Keep turning the dough as you bring in more flour.
4. Cut the dough into pieces and roll into tubes 3-4 cm wide and about 15-20 cm long. Sprinkle the board with more flour to stop the dough sticking. Cut the tubes into 3-4 inch thick circles, make a thumbprint in each one and fill them carefully with a little ricotta cheese. Close each disc to encase the ricotta and roll each one into a ball (they should be like small golf balls). Dust them lightly with flour if they stick.
5. You can freeze the gnocchi or chill them until you need to cook them.
* Gnocchi Tip: Try to use enough flour to give the gnocchi structure but as little as you can to keep them light. You may not need all of the 200g of flour in our recipe above or you may need a little more, depending on the starchiness of your potato. Practice really does make perfect in this case.
How to cook gnocchi
Place the gnocchi in a large saucepan of simmering lightly salted water. Cook for 2-4 minutes – the gnocchi will float to the top when they are cooked. Strain and serve immediately. Toss with pesto or tomato sauce, fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.
Gnocchi with Grand Prix sauce
Toss the cooked gnocchi in this authentic Italian tomato sauce: fry strips of 2 slices of Parma Ham or any Italian prosciutto crudo in a pan with butter, add 6 tablespoons of tomato sauce and 3 tablespoons fresh cream. Heat gently. Toss the gnocchi in the sauce. Grate over fresh Parmesan and serve. You can make this sauce to go with bought gnocchi too.
Can you freeze gnocchi: Yes! Freeze gnocchi on a tray and when frozen, pop into plastic bags ready to use with a sauce or to pop into soup. To defrost, drop the frozen gnocchi into boiling water and cook as above.