By now you might have twigged that I'm in Italy but I haven't forgotten about Presto Pasta Night and as they seem to say on all the cooking shows, here's something I prepared earlier.
I think it's only appropriate that I make something typically Italian...but with a little twist.
Last year I posted my Gnocchi making secrets and rather than just repeat the exercise I thought I'd use those same principles but applied to a different type of potato. In this case I've chosen the highly distinctive Purple Congo.
I am an avowed potato lover and though this is a gorgeous potato, I find it mealy and altogether a rather less than inspiring potato when used in dishes like salads. If looks matter more than taste, then this is for you.
Having said that, there was one thing I hadn't used it for and that was to make gnocchi - but that was until now.
Purple Congo Gnocchi
purple congo potatoes, choose those of a similar size to even out cooking time
First off, wash the potatoes and then boil then whole until they are tender. You boil them whole so that they don't absorb the water and become soggy and boiling these potato fingers is quite a quick process.
Drain and then peel them - this should be done while there's still heat in the potato so don't wait for the potatoes to become cold.
With the skin off you can see just how purple they really are - the colour does go right through.
Once peeled, put them through a potato ricer - this is really one tool you need to get that soft and fluffy result. If you don't have a ricer, try mashing them by hand but never ever put them in a food processor, you'll end up with potato glue.
Yes, they do look a bit like purple Plasticine but that really is the potato.
Tip the potatoes out onto a board and grind over with some salt. I have read on occasion that people don't add salt but for me that makes no sense. Just like pasta dough, salt is essential to bring out the flavour.
The next part is the addition of flour and I make no apologies for this, but these gnocchi are egg free. In the earlier post I listed a rough guide of using at most 175 grams of flour for every 500 grams of potato. I found it very interesting that I used considerably less flour to make this dough.
The method is to use just enough flour to form a dough that is no longer sticky.
I then take portions of the dough and roll it out to form sausage shapes about the thickness of my ring finger. Once I've made all theses rolls, it's time to cut them into gnocchi.
Once again I prefer my gnocchi to be small, probably about the size of a fingernail - they need to fit easily on the tines of a fork, which is useful when it comes to the formation of that traditional ridging.
Take your fork and rest the tines onto your bench - hold it at a slight angle with the curve of the fork facing the gnocchi. The fork position is shown in the photo below.
Place a gnoccho at the base of the fork and then very gently roll it along the tines - you'll find that your fingertip will cause an indentation on one side and the tines will form the ridges on the other. This is a really quick process and you don't need to apply pressure to do this - if you do then you've probably got quite a floury mix that isn't going to give you that light result.
Once all the gnocchi have been formed, it's time to cook them!
As with all pasta, a large pot of boiling salted water is needed. When the water is rapidly boiling add in the gnocchi, stir and allow to cook. They will rise to the surface when cooked. Drain and toss them through the sauce and serve immediately.
For a sauce for these most colourful gnocchi I thought I needed something equally strong in colour. So I came up with a simple mix of onion, pancetta lardons and peas - those green orbs look so striking against the purple.
A fine grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano the final touch.
Tagged with Pasta