Author Notes: This gnocchi comes from Smashing Plates by Maria Elia. From the book: "My editor, Sophie, asked me to write about how I came up with this dish. I think I need a book twice this length to explain all the things that go on in my head when I come up with ideas! No, gnocchi is not Greek, but while I was making it one day I thought about how good it would be with some salty olives mixed through it. They’d also add color, although I was concerned they’d look like Garibaldi (dead fly) biscuits! Mixed with a rich tomato sauce, they’re far more attractive, adding a comforting balance and depth. I’d cooked octopus for another dish that day, but as it came out of the oven I suddenly had this urge to try it with the sauce and gnocchi, three comfort foods together. And that’s how the dish was born, out of curiosity. It’s like fish and chips redefined, with a hint of Greek. Serve with Slow-braised Octopus with Cherry Tomato Sauce, or simply tossed with grated Kefalotyri or feta cheese… salted anchovies… fresh tomatoes… basil… lamb… sardines … the world’s your oyster!" —Food52
pounds large, floury potatoes, such as Russets
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/3 to 1 2/3
cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
cup pitted black Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
pinch grated nutmeg
free-range egg, lightly beaten
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place the potatoes on a nonstick baking sheet and cook in the oven until tender, 1 to 2 hours, depending on their size. While they’re still hot, halve and scoop out the flesh using a spoon. Pass through a fine sieve or potato ricer into a bowl.
- Fill a large saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil while you prepare the gnocchi. Place the potatoes on a clean work surface dusted with flour. Mix with the olives, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and two-thirds of the flour and lightly knead together. Make a well in the center, pour in the egg, and gradually work into the potato; use your hands to form a smooth, soft dough, adding more flour if necessary. Be careful not to overwork the dough. I always like to test the dough by cooking a small piece in the boiling water. Cook until the gnocchi floats; if it falls apart, add a little more flour to the dough. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- Cut the dough into four, then roll each on a lightly floured surface into 3/4-inch-diameter sausages and cut into 1 1/4-inch pieces. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour. You can make the gnocchi ahead of time and refrigerate until required.
- Cook the gnocchi in batches in the boiling water until they float to the surface (1 to 2 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon or sieve and place in a warmed serving dish. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with the sauce of your choice. Serve immediately.
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