Gnocchi for beginners. And braggarts. Not my description, I hasten to add, but after making these gnocchi, truly, in under 15 minutes, I can only agree with the tagline. I’m not quite a gnocchi beginner. I’ve made potato gnocchi before and while they weren’t exactly tricky, they were tedious, a little time-consuming and somewhat fiddly; baking potatoes (if you boil them they get too much water in), mashing them finely (you really need a potato ricer but that’s one one-use kitchen gadget I refuse to get, too big and too pointless the rest of the time), leaving to cool, adding flour and egg and kneading and shaping and oof, no fun at all. Well, not much anyway.
These though are completely different. And yet, very similar. The ratio of cheese to flour is 4:1, so much that you think they can’t possibly hold their own in a pot of boiling water and will simply dissolve into a ricotta-y mess. And yet, in 2 minutes wonderful things happen in that pot and they turn into little pillows of light chewiness, spongey from the flour and light and fluffy from the ricotta. Wonderful. Similar to potato gnocchi only quicker and lighter and oh so much better. Shower with love and pesto, or just a simple tomato sauce.
Adapted slightly from delicious days
250g ricotta, drained
35g grated grana padano (or parmesan, whatever you have)
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
75g potato flour
1 small handful of rice flour, for dusting
1. Make sure the ricotta is nice and dry (drain off any liquid or squeeze gently in cheesecloth) and put in a large bowl with the grana padano, egg yolk and salt. Stir well with a spoon and add the potato flour. Stir until combined.
2. Set up a large chopping board and dust lightly with rice flour. I used one small handful of rice flour for the whole process. Dip your knife into the flour as well. Take a large handful of the dough; it will be a little sticky, but cohesive. Roll it between your lightly flour-dusted hands for a couple of seconds, just until it becomes easier to handle, then roll out into a long thin sausage, about 1/2-inch thick on the board. Using the knife quickly cut the sausage into chunks, about an inch long. Transfer these to a sheet of greaseproof paper, squeezing them slightly in the middle between forefinger and thumb as you lift them up, to give them the characteristic pillow shape. Continue to shape the rest of the dough in the same way.
3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and carefully drop the gnocchi in. Give the water a quick swirl, to stop them from sticking together, then leave to cook. They will only take a minute or two and they will start to float to the surface. Once on the surface of the water, this is your cue that they’re done. Carefully remove from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate for a moment while the remaining gnocchi cook (mine took 2 batches).
4. Serve immediately with a simple sauce; I ate mine with a sauce of tomatoes, basil and a little butter.
Makes about 25 gnocchi, perfect for a main course for 2 people, with sauce (it might not sound like enough but they are rich and will fill you up quicker than you think).