It may not surprise you that I have been distracting myself and trying to cure my lockdown boredom by obsessing over potatoes. Gnocchi has been my nemesis this January. We’ve had one broken potato masher, an incident with the smoke alarm and a very sticky (purple) mess all over the kitchen worktops; it’s been a rollercoaster. However, I am proud to announce that I’ve come out the other side victorious (with a little help from my friend Stefi) and would like to share the resulting recipe with you. It’s actually quite simple to make, if you don’t overcomplicate it… This recipe makes approximately 90 gnocchi – if this sounds a bit excessive you can half the ingredients but bear in mind that they can be frozen before cooking and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. I know I’m a bit late with helping you tackle the January Blues but I hope this brings a bit of colour to these wintery days.
For this gnocchi I used purple Vitelotte potatoes. A French heritage variety which dates back to the early 19th century, this potato is our original purple variety grown on the Estate and continues to be popular with our customers. With a chestnutty flavour and a slightly waxy texture this variety is perfect boiled or steamed for salads, roasted or wedged and makes a deliciously different gratin. If you’d like to add some colour to your meals Vitelotte is a good place to start.
Vegan Vitelotte Gnocchi
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Makes 90 gnocchi (approx. 6 servings)
1kg Vitelotte potatoes (peeled and chopped weight)
250g plain white flour (plus extra for dusting)
- Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes until completely tender.
- Drain away the cooking water and return to the hob to steam dry for a couple of minutes – they need to be dried as much as possible.
- Whilst the potatoes are still warm season and either mash thoroughly or pass them through a potato ricer, you need them to be as smooth as possible. At this point the Vitelotte should start looking like playdough.
- Add the flour to the mashed potato and mix thoroughly, it is easier to use your hands for this to bring the mixture together into a dough.
- Dust a worktop with a little flour and take a quarter of your dough, rolling it into a ball between your hands.
- Roll the dough on the worktop to create a long sausage about 2cm in diameter.
- Using the straight edge of a fork divide the sausage into approximately 3cm segments.
- Gently roll the individual gnocchi in a little more flour and shape. If you have a gnocchi board you can roll them over this to create traditional ridges, if not you can use the tines of a fork. Alternatively make a little indentation with your thumb in the middle of your gnocchi, as pictured. The purpose of the ridges is to help sauce stick to the gnocchi, it isn’t compulsory and they can be left as little cocktail sausage shaped dumplings if you’d prefer.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough in small batches.
- It is at this stage that you can prepare excess gnocchi for freezing. Make sure they are well dusted with flour and arrange on a baking tray so that they aren’t touching. Place the tray in the freezer so that it is level and leave for 3 hours. Once frozen they can be transferred to a freezer bag and stored for up to 3 months.
- To cook bring a large pan of water to the boil and carefully add the gnocchi. As soon as they float to the surface remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and serve immediately. They work best with a cheese sauce, or simply tossed in some melted butter and sage.