Flora's Gnocchi

Method:

  • Wash the potatoes and boil them whole and unpeeled in a large pan of salted water for about half an hour or more, depending on size, until they are soft when pricked in the middle.

  • Drain them, peel while still hot and mash (or put through a potatoe ricer as Flora traditionally does!)

  • Make a well in the middle of the mashed potato and add the butter, salt, lemon zest and nutmeg to taste.

  • Sift the flour and fold it in gradually, together with the semolina and the whole beaten egg.

  • Knead well adding more flour if needed to make a light dough that does not stick to your fingers.

  • Taking handfulls of the dough, roll out each on a floured surface to form a thick sausage-shape.

  • Cut each sausage into pieces approximately four centimetres long and form them into balls.

  • To make the surface textured, roll each ball lightly across the back of a flat grater.

  • Done skilfully this produces an interesting patter of lines and surface rippling which makes pick up the sauces they’re served with.

  • When ready, bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Drop the gnocchi into the water in batches. When they’re done they’ll rise to the top of the water and can be lifted out with a slotted spoon.

On day two with Flora in Croatia we embarked on a mammoth gnocchi-making session (in Croatian NJOKI). Traditionally these dumplings are the accompaniment to pašticada, a typical Dalmatian beef stew made with Croatian desert wine, prunes for sweetness and cloves and nutmeg for spice. Flora’s gnocchi are particularly elegant, their detailing created with a quick roll across the back of a cheese grater. Their textured nature ensures they pick up all the gravy. Flora advocated lots of parmesan to finish. We made a vegetarian version with crispy fried sage leaves from the garden and extra butter (and more parmesan).

Ingredients:

1kg floury boiling potatoes

250g strong plain flour

3 generous tablespoons of semolina

1 large egg

70g butter

grated zest of one lemon (to taste)

Pinch grated nutmeg

Salt to taste

(Parmesan for serving)

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