Sunday, 14 August 2011

And again, it will be about gnocchi... I can’t help it that I love them and if only the day had 50 hours I would do them every single day... I have written about them before here (click). But I will write again! So, after all my investigations trying to find out whether they are polish or italian invention, and although they are done exactly the same way, I felt that it would be fair to leave polish dumplings being dumplings and Italian gnocchi being gnocchi... The former dumplings will always remind me of home, made by my Mum, who always served it with some meat or mushroom sauce. Oh! And I can’t forget to mention that dumplings were a hit of students’ life – we used to go to these cheap milk bars where you could buy them for pennies with accompaniment of butter milk.... oh, happy student days... But gnocchi on the other hand will always be associated with my first funny trip to Italy and will remind me of something fancy, different types potatoes, fancy ingredients, cheese sauces and Italy itself of course... 

Today, we did fancy gnocchi! We combined British and Jamaican sweet potatoes together with parsnips, blue cheese and pine nuts. Check this out! It tasted absolutely gorgeous! 

500g parsnips 
500g sweet potatoes 
50g parmesan 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
175g plain flour 
1 large egg 
25 g butter 
400g fresh spinach 
125g blue cheese 

Preheat oven to 180 ° C. 
Cook the parsnips in a pan of boiling, salted water for 3-4 minutes, then drain and place in a baking tray with the sweet potatoes. 
Drizzle half the olive oil, then roast for 30 minutes until tender, turning regularly. Whizz in a food processor, then push through a potato ricer into a bowl. Allow to cool. The secret of good gnocchi is that the potatoes must be completely cool before combining with flour and eggs. 
Stir the parmesan into cooled mash, along with the flour and egg yolk. Season well, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide the dough in half. Roll both halves out into 2.5 cm diameters logs, then cut into 3cm pieces and place on a floured plate. 
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the gnocchi in batches for about 2-3 minutes until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Melt half the butter in a frying pan over medium heat, then add the spinach. Fry for a few minutes, until wilted. Season with nutmeg to bring out its flavour and a hint of chilli. Melt the remaining butter and fry the gnocchi for a few minutes until lightly golden. Serve on a bed of wilted spinach with the blue cheese and pine nuts sprinkled over.


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