We didn’t grow up eating potato gnocchi. My sister Casey can attest to that.
During high school she was in a public speaking competition. Dad reckons she “had it in the bag” after absolutely killing her prepared monologue and of course without bias thought she was a shoe in for a place. The contestants were then asked to recite a piece of writing which was sight unseen and once again, Dad recalls how well she was doing, him sitting up there next to Mum, both of them beaming with big toothy grins.
So there she was reading through the text with great conviction, complete animation, perfect diction and whatever else they look for in a public speaking competition. No one can remember what the text was actually about exactly but all was going swimmingly until she stumbled upon one word so badly, you couldn’t help but tell that she’d never read, let alone heard of it before.
And that word, the reason she didn’t make it through to the next round of the competition was… wait for it.. the word was none other than potato ‘gnocchi’. Case awkwardly spitting out “G knock ee” with a strong emphasis on the G instead of it being silent.
Apparently it was glaringly obvious that she’d stuffed up, made a mistake, a big boo boo. And despite moving on to finish the reading, that one “whoopsie daise” had left her red faced and embarrassed and to this day will never be able to live it down.
Apparently Dad had to fight back the urge to punch the “living day lights” out of one of the parents that was heard muttering under his breath about “how uncultured” the mispronunciation of the word was.
Mum blames herself for not exposing her kids to more authentic, culturally enriching foods.
Case still won’t eat the stuff.
And no one in the family will ever pronounce the word gnocchi, any other way. G-knock-ee for life.
But as for me, silent ‘G’ or not; you’ll always be a winner in my books Case.
Pictured above is homemade potato gnocchi with Grandad’s homegrown potatoes, pan fried broccolini with pine nuts and a sweet little apple, parmesan and caramelised balsamic salad. Simple and elegant, not to mention tasty.
I’ve never been the big a fan of potato gnocchi, after only ever eating the store-bought stuff which I always found to be disappointing. Now that I’ve discovered making my own (thanks to Mum for buying me a potato ricer for Chrissie which has made things so much easier) I can’t stop.
homemade potato gnocchi with a burnt butter and sage sauce
4 x large potatoes
3/4 cup of plain flour
1 x egg
A handful of grated parmesan cheese
Salt, freshly cracked pepper
A wicked amount of butter (about 150 grams)
8-10 sage leaves
- Boil the potatoes, whole and with the skin left on, in a large saucepan of salted water until soft. Drain and let cool slightly so that you can handle them. The skin should be easy to peel off. Discard the skin and pass the potatoes through a potato ricer (I do this twice) so that you have a bowl of very finely mashed potato in front of you. (If you don’t own a potato ricer and want to become a gnocchi master, I’d suggest you buy one next time you’re at the shops. They cost around $30. I have made gnocchi without this, instead passing the potato through a sieve instead and although it worked, gosh does it take some serious time).
- Throw the flour, egg and parmesan in and season well with salt and lots of freshly cracked pepper. Mix together with your hands until combined and you have a nice ball of dough.
- Simply take handfuls of the mixture and roll out in to thin logs (lightly dusting the work surface with flour so that they don’t stick), before cutting into small pieces. Roll each piece down the back of a fork to give them a little groove (which will help the sauce stick) and place them evenly apart on a lined baking tray until ready to use. Note: place glad wrap over the top and pop them in the fridge if you’re planning on cooking them later.
- When ready to cook the gnocchi, place a large saucepan of salted water on to boil, and in the meantime, add the butter and sage to a frypan and fry over a low-medium heat until the butter is nicely browned (but not burnt, although it’s called burnt butter) and the sage leaves are nicely cooked. Once the water is rapidly boiling, carefully place the gnocchi in to the water and pop the lid on. Once the gnocchi is cooked (which literally only takes minutes) they will float to the top of the water. Use a slotted metal spoon to scoop them out from the water and into the butter/sage frypan. Toss to coat in the buttery sauce. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Serve straight away.
I’d love to know what you think of the recipe; feel free to comment here. xx