Oh my this was good, and it would make a great Valentine's meal, especially with some homemade Garlic Bread ;-) Or any day of the week as it's been kid approved too - my son loved this and he's never liked store bought gnocchi, so yay for homemade!
I do love gnocchi and you can buy vegan ready made gnocchi in the shops, at least I was able to in London when we lived there and here in Ireland Super-Value's own label gnocchi does just happen to be vegan. But I've always wanted to make my own and was inspired here from watching Catherine Fulvio make this Spinach Gnocchi on her fab cooking show awhile back.
Not only did she make it look so easy but I loved the idea of adding chopped spinach to the dough and I really loved the way she just cut them into rustic diagonal shapes as opposed to the traditional forked orbs you usually see. It might just be me, but as much as I love gnocchi that look and shape always made me think of bugs and it put me off slightly! I think this is a much more pleasing shape and look :-)
As you can see I opted for chives instead of spinach here, I love spinach but chives and potato are just such a classic combination. The further step of pan frying was just a thought I had, I think I must be missing pierogi's (common in British Columbia) because I was craving that slightly crisp buttery outer layer you get when you fry them in butter after boiling. Delicious!
I debated for a long time what kind of sauce to serve this with, I already have some great sauces on here that I thought of using like the Creamy Tomato Sauce or the Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce would both be great but not one to pass up an opportunity to create a new sauce, made this one up. It does go really well with the chive gnocchi with rich tomato and subtle sun-dried tomato flavours and I love the smoothness of it.
A good tip here is to make the sauce in advance, either the day before or earlier in the day then it simply needs heating up once you fry the gnocchi. If the sauce has thickened up too much just add some water, it has so much flavour in it it can take it!
Pan Fried Chive Gnocchi with Sun-Dried Tomato Coulis - serves 4
600g potatoes, about 4 large, I used regular white mashing potatoes here of uniform size.
150g '00' pasta flour or 1 1/4 cups
1 Tbsp potato starch (can use cornstarch)
1 Tbsp water
1/8 tsp salt or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
10g or 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped (I've also used finely chopped spring onion)
~ vegan butter to fry ~
Place the potatoes, whole and unpeeled into a large pot and cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook until the centres are tender, I tested with a knife, this took about 30 minutes but will depend on the size of your potatoes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Drain and then peel the potatoes while hot. This is easiest done with a fork to hold them and a knife, unless you have unfeeling callous prone hands! The skins should just fall off.
Place the potatoes into a oven safe dish and just break them up a bit, cover the dish with foil and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. I have added this step to Catherine's recipe as it's recommended by Giorgio Locatelli in his gnocchi recipe to help dry out the potato. It's also good to finish off cooking the centres of the potatoes if they are not quite cooked after boiling.
Remove the dish and foil and mash really well. The Giorgio Locatelli recipe said to push the potato through a sieve but I know from experience this takes a long time and arms of steel. Thankfully Catherine's recipe didn't say to do this so I was happy to omit it.
Measure out 500g of the potato and place in a large bowl (I cook 600g to make sure I end up with 500g as you will lose some while cooking, peeling and mashing.) Mix together the potato starch and water (this will replace the egg as a binder in the recipe) and add it to the potato with 100g of the flour (about 3/4 cups) or enough to make a dough . Mix well then add the salt, pepper and chives. Taste and season as you see fit and transfer to a flour dusted surface (using some of the remaining flour.)
Knead the dough adding more of the remaining flour until you have a pliable dough, you will most likely need all of the flour stated. Divide this dough into 4 equal pieces:
Using your fingertips roll each piece out to a rope about 2" thick (sorry, didn't get a picture at this stage!) Then cut the rope into about 2" size diagonal pieces and keep on a floured surface, don't let them touch each other too so they don't stick.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and drop the gnocchi in, give it a stir then let them boil for about 3 minutes or until they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and either place in a pot with sauce and stir to coat OR get a non-stick frying pan hot then add some vegan butter, when it melts add the gnocchi and fry, tossing the gnocchi about by shaking the pan until they are golden and crisp on both sides. Note: if you don't use a non-stick pan and grease it these will stick!
Sun-Dried Tomato Coulis
400g passata ( 1 3/4 cups) this is sieved tomato sauce
3 Tbsp or 60g sun- dried tomato puree
60g shallots, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 Tbsp chopped garlic, about 2 large cloves
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Gently fry the shallots and garlic in the olive oil with a few grinds of black pepper until the shallots are soft and the garlic is fragrant. Add the passata and sun-dried tomato puree, stir, then simmer on a low heat with the lid on for about 10 - 15 minutes. Let cool slightly then scrape it all into a blender and blitz until super smooth, transfer back to the pot and either use right away or let cool to reheat later.
Notes: First, the sun-dried tomato puree I use comes in a tube, it's by Epicure and has salt, chilli, oregano, capers, garlic and oil added. Second, the passata I use also has salt added, because of both these I haven't added any salt here as it didn't need any more. Depending on your brand of passata or puree you made need to add salt, just go by taste.
To serve, spoon some of the Sun-Dried Tomato Coulis onto a plate and place the gnocchi over top, scatter with fresh chives and serve. We found this a satisfying meal on it's own but my Garlic Bread would be a lovely side to this, especially to mop up some of that delicious leftover sauce!
Nutritional Information: based on 1 serving out of 4, fried gnocchi and sauce.
Sat Fat: 1.3g
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