This gnocchi is the closest thing I have to a party trick.
When my girlfriends and I get together for dinner, wine, and conversation that isn't all about work, this is the dish they always request. To me it's elegant comfort food, perfect for sharing on cosy nights in this time of year.
I like to make gnocchi when I have the luxury of plenty of time to turn up my music and enjoy pottering around the kitchen. And I always double this recipe, because as much as I like serving it up to a small crowd, knowing I have a reserve gnocchi stash in the freezer - and that this particular dinner is always less than 15 minutes away from the moment I cross my kitchen's threshold - is something I'll admit to relying on to restore my equilibrium at the end of the most harried workdays. So yes, this meal is habit-forming. You've been warned.
Catherine's Own Simple Home Made Gnocchi Recipe
Ingredients For The Gnocchi:
1 large sweet potato
1 cup ricotta (I use full fat)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup grated parmesan or cheddar cheese
3-4 cups all-purpose flour
1. Stab the sweet potato five or six times with a fork and pop it on a plate in the microwave for 6 minutes. Flip over, and microwave for another 6 minutes so the potato steams in its own jacket. Set aside to cool.
2. When the potato is cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scoop out the insides. Measure 1 cup into a mixing bowl or food processor.
3. Add all the other ingredients into the mixing bowl or food processor and stir, or pulse, to combine. The mixture will be really sticky, but the goal is to add as little flower as possible to create a dough which can be shaped.
4. On a well floured surface, turn out the lump of dough. Working with one small handful at a time, roll the floured dough out to create a long snake shape the thickness of a 20 cent coin. Cut the roll every 2 - 3cm to form the little gnocchies.
5. OPTIONAL - If you want to make the gnocchi look more traditional, roll them over the tines of a fork or a wooden paddle like I have to create little ridges.
6. I often make a double batch so I have leftovers to freeze. At this point, place the gnocchi you intend to save for later on a parchment lined cookie sheet, making sure each piece is well floured and not touching. Freeze them like this, then transfer to a ziplock bag to store in the freezer. This ensure they won't come out as one big lump when it's time to defrost.
7. Turn two burners on high & put a pot of water on to boil and a skillet with a generous drizzle of olive oil on to heat. Let the gnocchi simmer for 2 - 3 minutes then using a slotted spoon, transfer to the pan to crisp, using tongs to turn them over until all sides are golden. Add in herbs, butter, cheese, and whatever toppings you like (my gnocchi 'dressing' is coming up below' until everything is heated through and serve.
Ingredients For The Dressing:
500g red onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
a handful of fresh thyme
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato strips
salt and pepper to taste
Directions For The Dressing:
1. Using a mandolin (if you have one) or a sharp knife, slice the red onions as finely as possible.
2. Put a large skillet on low/medium heat, drizzle generously with olive oil, and add in the onions. Leave to cook down, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes. (This can also be done in a slow cooker if you don't want to stand over the stove... when I cook onions this way, I throw the garlic and thyme in right at the start and let it all cook down for 4 - 6 hours without any intervention. I usually have a jar of these cooked onions in my fridge because I use them in so many meals and having them ready to go makes getting the dinner I want on the table really quick.)
3. When the onions are soft and stringy, add in the garlic, thyme and artichoke hearts. Cook until the artichoke has caramelised on each side, then add in the sun-dried tomatoes and turn off the heat (they burn easily).
4. If you've made this dressing ahead, keep in an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to use. If you're ready to eat, add it in to your pan frying gnocchi (or toss with any other kind of pasta). Garnish with grated parmesan and fresh herbs, to serve.