Gnocchi with pepperonata
GNOCCHI (serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter)
- 600g floury potatoes
- 300g Italian 00 flour (approximate)
PEPPERONATA (makes 4 portions)
- 500g peppers
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- Sea salt & black pepper
1. Pepperonata: prepare in advance
Heat the olive oil over a medium-low heat in a large, heavy-based saucepan then add the onion and garlic. Sauté for around 10 minutes until translucent, making sure they don't brown.
Meanwhile, cut the peppers into long, 1 cm thick strips (discarding the seeds and inner white pith). Once the onion and garlic are soft and translucent add the peppers and a pinch of salt, then cover and continue to cook on a low heat for another fifteen minutes.
Stir in the canned tomatoes, then leave uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the peppers are soft and you have a thick, stew-like consistency. Add two 2 tsp red wine vinegar, then continue to cook for a final 10 minutes. Season to taste.
This can now be left to be reheated later on.
Scrub your potatoes until clean, then place (without peeling) in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook until very soft; you should be easily be able to press through with a knife. Drain in a colander then return to the empty saucepan over a low heat for a minute or two in order to dry the potatoes out. Leave until cool enough to handle (but still warm).
Once you can comfortably handle the potatoes, peel and discard the skins. Either press the potato flesh through a ricer or pass it through a fine sieve into a large bowl (this will get messy). Once done, transfer the sieved/riced potatoes to a floured work surface in a mound.
Make a shallow crater in the pile of sieved potatoes then begin adding the flour to the pile of potatoes a bit at a time, kneading the mixture and adding more flour as you go along, until you have a soft, pliable dough which doesn't stick to your hands or the board. You may need more or less flour depending on how dry your potatoes are.
Put a large, deep saucepan of salted boiling water on, ready for the gnocchi. At this point, you will want to get whatever sauce you're using - in my case the pepperonata I made early - on the heat to warm through so it's ready to serve.
From the kneaded dough, tear away a handful and roll this out into a log of around 2cm width. Cut along the log at around 1.5cm intervals, giving you small pieces of dough. Repeat this process until you've prepared all the dough. When the pieces are ready, press each one with the back of a fork to create the ridges. Cover the finished gnocchi pieces with a tea towel until you're ready to heat them.
To cook the gnocchi, drop each piece into steady (not fast) boiling water. Once ready (within a minute or two) the cooked pieces will bob up to the surface. Immediately scoop each piece out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a warm serving dish, then once all the gnocchi is cooked serve immediately with the pepperonata.