Saturday, November 17, 2012

Potato gnocchi with spinach and cheese

Instructions about how much flour to use in potato gnocchi vary a good deal. Marcella Hazan suggests 225g flour to 900g of potatoes, in a recipe that she says will serve 6-8. In a recent recipe in the Financial Times (reproduced in the Week), Rowley Leigh gave only 75g of flour to 1.5kg of potatoes, alleging that his recipe served 4.

My worry about the Leigh recipe is over whether the gnocchi would cohere. If you increase the flour content, though, you have to be sure you’ll enjoy a squidy, doughy result. I’m happy with squidginess, so I settled on the following quantities, for decent platefuls for 2. I used gluten-free flour.

600g potatoes
200g spinach
150g flour
1 egg, beaten
2tbsp Parmesan
Knob of butter

Peel the potatoes, cut them into even chunks, put them into a pan of cold water with a tsp of salt, bring to the boil, and simmer until tender. Drain, and mash. (I used a potato ricer.)

Meanwhile, wash the spinach. Pile it into a saucepan, clamp on the lid, and put it on a high heat. After a minute or two, when the spinach starts to wilt, start stirring it until it has all wilted. Drain.

When the spinach has cooled down a little, squeeze it in your hands. It will appear to be capable of disgorging water endlessly, so you have to decide when enough is enough. Chop it very finely, or whizz it in a food processor.

Mix the potato, spinach, flour, egg, and 1tbsp of Parmesan, with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Knead the mixture gently, until it is a sticky mass.

Take bits of the mixture, and on a lightly floured chopping board or work surface roll them into thin sausages – about half way between a chipolata and full-size sausage. Cut the sausages into 2cm pieces. My crude efforts are picture above.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Drop in the gnocchi. As the water returns to the boil, the gnocchi will rise to the surface. Give them a further minute or so, and drain.

Melt the butter in a gratin dish. Tip in the gnocchi, and stir. Sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan, and put the dish into a gas mark 6/200C oven until the cheese browns.

No comments: