I always found making Gnocchi really difficult until I found a method that baked the potatoes rather than boiling them. This makes a huge difference to the dough and they hold together really well rather than disintegrating once you cook them which happened to me before! They are ideal to make for smaller portions as they freeze really well so it makes sense to make a few batches at a time, I like them served with a light and flavoursome pesto but there are endless sauces which work equally well like a simple tomato sauce or a blue cheese. —Cathy Curran
For the Gnocchi
Large Desirée potatoes
‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting
Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra for serving
To make the gnocchi, prick the potatoes several times with a small knife and place onto a bed of rock salt in a baking tray in a hot oven. Bake for about 1½ hours, or until the inside is soft when tested with a knife. When cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. The salt bed helps to dry out the potatoes even more resulting in really nice gnocchi. Remove the cooked potato from the skins and pass through a potato ricer or sieve into a large bowl. Add the flour, parmesan, egg yolk, olive oil to the potatoes. Season, to taste, with salt and stir until the mixture comes together into a dough. Working on a floured surface, divide the dough into four and roll each quarter into a long sausage shape. Cut into 2cm/1in pieces. I like to chill the gnocchi at this stage to firm them up before cooking, at least half an hour covered with cling film in the fridge.
When you are ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large saucepan of boiling water to the boil with a good pinch of salt. Add the gnocchi in to the water gently and cook for a minute or two until the gnocchi pop to the surface, this means they are cooked. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon. Now make the pesto by blending all ingredients together until they form a paste, heat a frying pan with some olive oil, when hot add in the cooked gnocchi and toss around the pan until golden brown, take out and serve mixed with the pesto.