Ask some of the world’s best Italian chefs who makes the best food and a hefty portion of them will respond with, “my Nonna”. And it’s no wonder when every Nonna has her own special recipes and unique way of cooking. We’re not Italian ourselves (sob!) so we’ve teamed up with Sandhurst Fine Foods, who know more than a thing or two about capturing Nonna’s touch in the kitchen, to bring you a series of traditional Italian insights (and to help you become a whiz in the kitchen!)
I know this is a contentious thing to say, but we’ve discovered the best Nonna’s gnocchi this side of Sicily. I know, I know, we’re not going to agree on this one because you all think your Nonna’s is best—but hear me out.
We recently spent a day in the kitchen with one seriously savvy Nonna, who taught us that there are three rules of engagement in getting Nonna’s gnocchi just right.
1. Potatoes are king. Pontiacs are perfect as they’re dry and fluffy and produce the lightest gnocchi.
2. Add just enough flour to hold the dough together, and don’t over-mix.
3. Choose your topping wisely.
It’s all very well to make flawless gnocchi, but at the end of the day, it’s just a base (a very delicious, carb-lovers dream of a base—but still just a base). But what you put it with can totally transform the dish. There are so many options out there, but after the effort of mastering Nonna’s gnocchi, it’s best to go for something simple and delicious—and Sandhurst’s Basil Pesto is exactly what Nonna would approve of. It’s convenient, traditional and no-nonsense. You can spruce things up a touch with some fresh basil leaves, some cherry tomatoes, a sprinkle of parmesan and a dash of olive oil.
So here goes….
1kg Pontiac potatoes
250gm plain flour
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
60gm grated parmesan cheese
Sandhurst basil pesto - use desired amount needed for 10 people
1. - Place potatoes in a saucepan of cold water.
- Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer.
- Salt water well.
- Cook for approx. 35-40 mins or until just cooked through.
- Let the potatoes cool for about 20 minutes, until you can handle them, then peel.
2. - Mouli potatoes and season with salt and white pepper.
- Bring a large shallow saucepan of water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Salt the water well.
3. - Sprinkle 3/4 of the flour over the potatoes then add the beaten egg.
- Combine gently by hand, ensuring everything is distributed evenly. Careful not to overwork!
- Roll dough into a large log, and then slice into 5 or 6 pieces.
- Dust with a little more of remaining flour then roll each piece into a 2cm-thick log.
- Use a lightly floured knife or dough scraper to cut each log into 1cm lengths.
- Sprinkle the cut pieces with more of the remaining flour then toss in batches in a mesh basket or sieve to 'round' the gnocchi.
- Lightly roll each piece over a fork to gently impress the tines.
- Drop gnocchi into the boiling water until they rise to the surface (about 2-3 minutes.)
4.- Drain and toss with Sandhurst basil pesto.
- Top with more grated Parmesan and drizzle with some Sandhurst extra virgin olive oil
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Image credit: Federica Portentoso