Having gone to a Catholic school for 12 years I developed a longing to be Italian. Mainly due to the thick hair and olive skin of course. I got my fix from daily playing with my Italian friends hair and day dreaming about their lunch boxes creations. These fun things sufficed until year five when my friend Chloe invited me over for a sleep over. This was the first time I met her Nonna.. and the first time I ate Gnocchi.
I could safely say this was the beginning of not only my love for eating but my love for cooking as yes, Gnocchi was the first thing I was ever taught to cook. OK, sure my job was rolling the fork marks across the potato clouds but there is no I in team.
My second experience with food came years later when an Australian channel picked up Jamie Oliver’s ‘The Naked Chef’ TV show. I was hooked. Not only of Jamie (obviously) but of what he was cooking… fresh pasta. Hence, fresh spaghetti became the second thing I ever cooked.
While I am still very far away from being Italian and my thin “blonde” hair, fair skin and inability to learn languages is still my reality, I get my fix from nailing Italian cooking.
So here you have it. Inspired by Nonna Elena, the first Italian dish I ever made…
Gnocchi with Tomato Coulis
700g purple potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
140g bread making flour
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Serve with goats cheese
Tomato coulis (coulis = thicker, reduced sauce):
3 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
4 cloves of garlic
1 jar (700g) tomato passata
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup basil leaves
Boil a large pot of water and cook the potato until soft then drain. Leave the potato in the strainer fort 10-15 minutes until the potato has dried out. Using a wooden spoon push the potato through a sieve and leave aside.
Now start the coulis…
Heat the oil in a pot and add the onion and garlic and sauté on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the passata, 1/2 cup of water, salt, basil and sugar and cook on a super low heat for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes. Check to see whether it needs more salt or sugar to balance the acidity.
Now back to the potato…
Add the egg, flour, salt and pepper to the potato and gently mix through with a wooden spoon. This should only require 10-30 seconds to form a ball.
Divide the mixture into four and using a floured bench roll out the mix into little sausages then cut into your potato clouds. Continue until all the mixture is complete. Continue to flour as you go to ensure nothing sticks.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil then reduce to a very low simmer. Pop the gnocchi into the water. Once they have risen to the top of the water cook for a further 3 minutes. Drain the gnocchi then place into a bowl of water.
Melt the butter in a pan then add the drained gnocchi until a delicious golden crust is formed on each side. Serve with the coulis and top with little slices of the goats cheese. Once melted this will be absolutely amazing!