Tag Archives: Cooking

Gnocchi alla Ciociaria

Does your mind go blank as to what to prepare for dinner? Don’t worry here is something for you to drool over!

You will need: pancetta, porcini, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, parsley and sausage.

1. Heat the olive oil over a high heat until almost smoking. Then add the pancetta, porcini, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, parsley and sausage.

2. Cook over a high heat until the sausage is a little browned and the vegetables are tender.

3. Add half a glass of red wine. When it has evaporated, put the tomatoes and the pepper in the pan. Mix it all together and simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling salted water, for about 2-3 minutes, until they rise to the surface.

5. Let them fry in a pan with butter (see photo above).

6. Once the sauce is nice and thick, put the gnocchi in a plate and cover with the sauce.

7. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve.


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Filed under Dinner, Gnocchi, Quick & easy cooking, Recipes

Slotted spoons for gnocchi

To be honest, id’ never owned one until I got ‘into’ gnocchi and now I can’t image how I managed without!

A slotted spoon is essential if you are to eat your gnocchi at their best.  As the gnocchi rise to the top of the pan during cooking, you scoop them off – and you can’t do that without one of these.

On Amazon there are 156 spoons to chose from. They are not exactly investment pieces unless you consider the rather pretty Portmeirion model with porcelain handle and their iconic flower designs. Is £11 extravagant?

My preference is for a soft grip handle – avoids accidental burning of hand – with steel bowl which  feels more durable and hygienic.

For style one would have to go for Robert Welch… The one pictured above can be found at John Lewis  (and is called a skimmer). This all gleaming metal version  comes in at a neat £16, unless eBay tells you otherwise!

I would avoid the wooden models because whilst they may appear cheaper, and may indeed be more eco- friendly, they really don’t suit the dishwasher!

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Gnocchi makes Claudia a star on Master Chef

Last night’s Master Chef (23 Feb 2011) saw fashion lecturer Claudia make a delicious gnocchi dish with chorizo and garlic sauce that certainly impressed the judges. Usually hard to please Greg Wallace said of her dish, “it may well look unusual, but it tastes great!”. We wish Claudia all the best as the competition progresses and hopes to see some more great gnocchi dishes on the show soon.

Claudia’s Gnocchi with chorizo and garlic sauce, Master Chef, BBC1, 23 February 2011

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Filed under Competition, Gnocchi, Quick & easy cooking, TV

Rapid Roastini

When talking to a friend about my new found devotion for gnocchi last weekend, she proclaimed that I must try Nigella’s roast potato gnocchi! My puzzled expression resulted in her telling me that they are the best thing since, well, roast potatoes or regular gnocchi I suppose.

As soon as I got home I was straight on Google to find out more…

It turns out that ‘rapid roastini’ or quick ‘roast’ potatoes are simply shop bought gnocchi (more on the brands available in the supermarkets and our reviews and recommendations on them at a later date) which are fried in a pan or roasted in the oven (an area of considerable online debate is appears).

The basic recipe for rapid roastini’ is as follows:


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g/9oz ready-made or leftover potato gnocchi

Preparation method

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, put the gnocchi in, making sure you separate them as you do so, and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  3. Turn them over and give them another 3-4 minutes on the other side, or until browned on both sides.
  4. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper, then sprinkle with sea salt flakes and serve.

(Note the difference from German Schupfnudeln which is similar but requires the gnocchi to be made from scratch and are longer than traditionally round gnocchi – something that I’m sure we’ll have a go at some point in the future).

Maggiedon says “These little babies may just change your life!” and I for one am keen to find if that’s true, particularly because the pictures of these golden brown balls that are light and fluffy on the inside, yet divinely crispy on the outside have well and truly got my mouth watering!  I have therefore taken up the challenge to make these roastini myself this weekend. Update and photos from me to follow and in the mean time you can watch Nigella.

Only one question remains: what shall I serve my rapid roastini with? Free range Otway pork chops like fellow food blogger Sarah Speedy or with roast chicken instead of roast potatoes like Stephen?

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Filed under Gnocchi, Quick & easy cooking, Recipes

Gnocchi know how

Making Potato Gnocchi

The quality of your gnocchi depends on the quality of your potato.  It should be a perfect balance between floury and waxy.  Our team is planning and extensive planting programme so next year we will have scientific ‘proof’ but for now we are backing King Edwards.

Scrub, but do not peel, about a Kilo of potatoes.  Place them in well salted cold water and bring to the boil.  Cover and simmer until soft (depends on the size of your potatoes, it’s easier if they are all of a similar size).  While still hot, peel them.  Now you have a choice.  Some say dry them out for 10 or 15 minutes in a medium oven.  If you want to try this, break the cooked potatoes and place in a baking tray and cover loosely with foil.

Alternatively mash them finely – a ricer is perfect, a fork will do – but it is worth pushing the resultant mash through a sieve if you’ve gone for the fork method.  Then add 300g of flour, 00 or plain.  If using plain flour (it delivers a better result if sifted), one whole egg and a very good pinch of salt.  Mix together whilst the potato is still hot.

Dust your work surface with flour.  Giorgio Locatelli recommends flattening your mix in to a rough square about 1.5cm thick and slicing it in to 1.5cm strips then gently rolling it.  I like the precision of this but it’s equally good to take off a chunk and roll it into a sausage about 1.5cm thick.  Cut the resulting sausage in to 1 – 1.5cm lengths using more flour as needed to stop it sticking to the surface or to each other.

Lastly, take a small fork and lightly press it down on each piece of Gnocchi – so the fork leaves an impression.

If you are going to cook immediately, bring a pan of well salted water to the boil and gently pop the gnocchi in.  When the Gnocchi comes to the surface, it’s cooked.  Scoop out with a slotted spoon or sieve and sprinkle with olive oil and a sliver of butter to stop them sticking together whilst you warm the sauce of your choice.

Gnocchi freezes well but you need to do it on a floured tray so they don’t freeze into one big blob.  You can cook straight from frozen and the same rule applies – when it rises to the top of the pan, it’s cooked

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Filed under Gnocchi, Learning, Recipes, Tradition