Saturday, 17 December 2011

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I have learnt in the past week that it is quite difficult to take a decent picture of a bowl of gnocchi. First of all there is the issue of avoiding the steam from the food fogging up the camera lens. Then because gnocchi are essentially little lumps of dough it is quite tricky to get a photo which manages to distinguish all of these little lumps from each other. I also found that as I watched the lumps of gorgonzola added to my dish slowly starting to melt and go all gooey I became an increasingly impatient photographer and just wanted to sit down and eat. So eventually I gave up the pursuit of achieving the perfect gnocchi picture and just got on with enjoying my dinner! But hopefully the pictures below give you enough of a rough idea of what to aim for when making this gluten free recipe.

1 large baking potato
1 large sweet potato
Gluten free, wheat free flour blend (available from most health food shops)
Salt and pepper

This is quite a basic gnocchi recipe using just the two varieties of potato and flour. Some recipes also use egg but I chose not to making this a vegan as well as gluten free recipe (as long as you don’t add the cheese at the end that is!).

Firstly pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C/390 deg F.

Bake the potatoes in the oven until they are easily pierced with a fork (approximately 45 minutes, although the sweet potato will probably cook quicker than the baking potato).

Once cooked remove the potatoes from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Once you can handle the potatoes remove the skins and then weigh the potatoes and make a note of their weight.

Then use a cheese grater and grate the potatoes into a large bowl. You can just mash the potato but grating provides a finer texture which is required for gnocchi. Alternatively if you have a potato ricer use this instead…unfortunately I’m yet to invest in a ricer so use a grater to do the job.

Now add the flour to the potato mixture. For every 100g of potato you have you need to add 40g of flour. Season the mixture well and use your hands to combine together into a fairly stiff dough. The dough mixture will be fairly sticky at first but keep working at it until it all comes together, adding a little extra flour if needed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 5 minutes.

Traditionally this dough should now be rolled into a long rope and then cut into 2cm pieces to form the gnocchi but I find it easier just to take small pieces from the dough ball (about the size of a lumped teaspoon full of mixture) one at a time and form into a small ball. As you finish each gnocchi place onto a floured plate in a single layer to avoid them sticking together.

To cook the gnocchi bring a large pan of water to the boil and gently add the gnocchi, making sure the pan isn’t too full otherwise the gnocchi may stick together. After cooking for a few minutes the gnocchi will rise to the top of the pan and begin to float. Continue cooking for another minute or two and then remove from the water and drain well.

Then serve the gnocchi with your chosen accompaniment. I gently fried up a finely chopped red onion adding a crushed clove of garlic and a handful of walnut pieces as the onions began to soften. I seasoned this generously with lots of freshly ground black pepper and added a large handful of fresh spinach. Once the spinach had wilted I added the freshly cooked gnocchi to the pan and mixed so the gnocchi was coated with the onion, walnut mixture. I then transferred the gnocchi to bowls and topped with generous lumps of gorgonzola!

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