This has to be the easiest recipe ever for gnocchi which you can see my replica of in the picture above. The recipe is from Lorraine Pascale who is notable for her fantastically simple recipes and this one is no exception. Instead of using the traditional mashed potatoes and the time-consuming method that goes with it, this gnocchi is drastically more easy to prepare and are super quick too! I followed the recipe as Lorraine made it, which is like a salad although I am sure you could take the basic recipe and apply it to a fresh tomato and basil sauce or whatever you want. I am yet to try other combinations as I wanted to learn how to do as a salad but if I try something different with the gnocchi I will be sure to post it. Anyway, back to the recipe itself! The gnocchi is pan fried and you can easily make the gnocchi in bulk and freeze it, taking out batches and pan frying them when you want to because the recipe makes quite a lot of gnocchi.
The above picture shows you how lovely, golden and crisp the gnocchi is when you cook it with a lovely soft mellow inside so it is surprisingly akin to the real thing. Peppery rocket works great mixed in with the pine nuts and pesto but an Italian-style leafy salad could work equally well if you maybe don’t like rocket.
For this easy gnocchi the ingredients are as follows:
- For the pesto
- 25g/1oz parmesan, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove (preferably roasted)
- 60g/2oz fresh basil
- 50ml/2fl oz extra virgin olive oil
- 50g/2oz pine nuts, toasted
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- For the gnocchi
- 100g/3½oz parmesan, grated
- 1 tbsp of dried oregano
- 350g/12oz mascarpone cheese
- 300g/10½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- olive oil
- 50g/2oz butter
- To serve
- 70g/2¼oz rocket or leafy salad of your choice
- 25g/1oz pine nuts, toasted
- First, prepare the pesto. Tip the parmesan into a blender or food processor. Peel the garlic, tear the leaves from the bunch of basil and add both along with the oil and pine nuts. Blitz to a paste, season to taste and set aside.
- For the gnocchi, tip the parmesan into a medium bowl. Add the dried oregano along with the mascarpone, plain flour, eggs and salt and pepper, to taste. Mix together to give a soft dough. Then tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead together to form a smooth ball.
- Divide the mixture in three and roll each one out into a sausage about 60cm/23½ in long. Cut each ‘sausage’ into 2cm/1 in pieces to give about 30 (so 90 in total). Halfway through, put a large frying pan on a medium to high heat with a drizzle of oil and the butter.
- Place the gnocchi into the pan and turn down the heat to low. Leave the gnocchi to cook on one side for a minute, before carefully turning them over with a fish slice. Cook for a further four minutes, continuing to gently turn them every so often until they are crisp and golden all over and warmed through. If the gnocchi didn’t fit in your pan then tip the cooked ones in a bowl, cover with tin foil to keep warm and cook the remainder, adding more oil and butter as necessary.
- Once all the gnocchi are cooked, stir the pesto through until evenly coated. Add in the rocket leaves and mix together. Then, divide between four serving plates (or however many you wish) and scatter the pine nuts over. Give a good grind of black pepper and serve.