So I am having this secret love affair with homemade Pasta for a while now. Having never eaten fresh homemade Pasta I have fallen hard. Dried store brought pasta does not excite me at all.
2 years ago I attended a pasta making class and got so inspired that I brought a pasta machine right away. Since then I made fresh pasta at home only twice and the machine is hidden away in a cold dark place begging to be used. And I feel guilty about this. It is like telling someone you love them and then ignoring them completely.
So as a compromise I make pasta sauce at home and usually buy fresh pasta from the store. However last month when I attended the “Italian Summer” class at the “Taste Budds Cooking Studio” and tried fresh pasta again I knew I had to do it. One of the pastas we made was “Gnocchi in roasted Tomato sauce”.
These soft gooey Potato balls just melt in my mouth and were one of the highlights of the evening for me along with the “Fish stew”
What I loved is how easy they were to make and they were so light that I could no longer felt the pain of eating bad Gnocchi in the past in a lot of so called authentic Italian restaurants.
I came home brimming with visions of Gnocchi floating in the very light sauce. So like a true lover I decided to make it, following the instructions carefully from the notes I had made and some from my fading memory. When the Gnocchi finally started floating on top I felt so much joy that I cannot explain.
And once again I felt the first stirring of an old love in my heart. I felt joy, ecstasy and I knew I would never go back to store brought pasta again. Since then I have made this Gnocchi several times using different sauces and I have always felt satisfied and happy.
Here is the recipe (courtesy Taste Budds cooking Studio) Serves 2, cooking time 60 minutes
For the Roast Tomato Sauce:
500 gms Cherry Tomatoes or 4 big juicy plump Tomatoes cut into pieces.
Olive Oil to Sprinkle on the Tomatoes
Handful of Basil leaves
Salt & Pepper to taste
1) Fresh Bocconcini Or Parmesan Cheese (to be added when serving the Gnocchi)
2) Put the Tomatoes in a roasting pan, sprinkle the Olive oil, Salt and Pepper and roast at around 160 degrees C in an oven for 30 minutes or till well roasted.
3) Once the Tomatoes are done, crush them gently with a fork and transfer to a pan on a low flame. Add the Basil and adjust Salt & Pepper if needed. Keep the sauce warm till you are ready to add the Gnocchi.
For the Gnocchi:
6 big Royal Blue Potatoes
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Plain Flour
1/3 cup Semolina
1) Peel the Potatoes and cut them into 2 cm chunks. Now Steam or Boil them in water (add the Potatoes in Cold water and bring them to boil). Once the Potatoes are done strain the water drain out.
2) Press through a Potato ricer into a large bowl or your working surface and let it cool completely. Do not be tempted to use a Potato masher as it may leave some lumps.
3) Make a well between in between the Potatoes and 1 Egg, Salt & Pepper and add the Plain flour in batches. The less flour you use, the lighter the Gnocchi is, but the more difficult it becomes to roll them. So you have to use your judgement here. Do not over knead, you have to be very gentle here.
4) Divide the mixture into 2 – 3 portions and roll each portion to a cylinder about the width of a finger. Sprinkle the Semolina on your working surface and put the Gnocchi on it rolling it gently. The Semolina will ensure that the Gnocchi doesn’t stick to each other. Cut on the diagonal into pieces around 2 cm long.
5) Add the Gnocchi in boiling water in small batches. Once they float to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon and add it to the sauce immediately. If you want to store the Gnocchi, add it to a bowl of cold water, drain and coat with a little Olive Oil so it doesn’t stick and freeze. When ready to use, put the Gnocchi in boiling water till it starts floating to the surface.
6) Mix the Gnocchi gently in the sauce, sprinkle some more Basil leaves and the Cheese when ready to serve.