Spinach & Basil Gnocchi (from scratch)
The word ‘Gnocchi’ identifies you immediately as non-native for any Italian around and is possibly one of the most mis-pronounced words in Italian cuisine. It goes from Knokki to Gnotschiiiii – either way you say it, it seems to be wrong. Even the Italian guy in your favourite Italian restaurant will gently remind you on how to pronounce it by reading your order out loud (thanks for that mate).
For everyone to brag with wisdom: Gnocchi refers to the Italian word of “Kind of a Dumpling” (in German “Nocken”) and is made of potato dough.
So recently we were invited at my friends house for dinner. He and his family share a similar passion for good food so no surprise we were served homemade Spinach Gnocchi. I enjoyed them so much that I started to prepare them on my own based on my friend Bobis’ recipe. Mille Grazie!
I prepare the Gnocchi from scratch because I really want to show off once in a while – if you prepare too many, what you will probably do at the first attempt, you can just freeze them and serve at a later stage. Freeze them uncooked.
This recipe feeds at least 4-5 PAX if they want a full meal:
- 1 kg of starchy Potatoes
- 200g of Plain White Flour (& more for the preparation)
- 100g of Semolina Flour (time to get this – you will need it for fresh Pasta too)
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 Eggs
- Piece of Butter (around 1,5 cm slice)
Pimp your Gnocchi:
- Bundle of Basil
- De-frosted Spinach (measure 2 hands when still frozen)
Prepare your ingredients by defrosting the spinach (get rid of excess water) and slicing the basil.
First of all, it is a good idea to get the potatoes soft so we will just bring a large pot with water to a boil, peel the potatoes, cut them in chunks and cook them until soft.
Once the potatoes are ready (means soft) move them into a new pot to cool down and add butter, flour, semolina, salt, eggs (& spinach & basil if wanted). Mash with a fork or a potato masher.
OK, so far so easy. Now comes the part most of the people are getting big eyes and try to delegate this task – forming the Gnocchi into small dumplings.
To do so, just use enough flour on your kitchen plate. You just roll a handful of dough into strings of about 2 cm diameter. Believe me, key is the flour otherwise the dough will be sticky and you will be cursing and getting crazy right away.
So once you have the strings just cut them into small pieces (again around 2 cm). Take the piece in your hand and briefly roll into a small dumpling.
So once this is done you can either stop now and freeze them or eat them right away. In order to do this just heat up another pot of water with a pinch of salt until boiling.
Fresh Gnocchi require only about 3-5 mins of Water-Time. If steaming them it will take you around 5-8 mins.
If you messed all of this up and your Gnocchi look pale and not nice don’t worry – you still have a chance to pimp them by briefly roasting them in a pan. This is in general a good idea even if your Gnocchi turned out great.
Garnish with anything that comes to your mind. For this special occasion (writing this recipe to you) I used pine nuts, splash of Olive Oil, Pinch of Salt & Pepper, some Rocket and Parmesan.
Remember you can do a lot of stuff with the Gnocchi – add tomato paste to make them red in colour. Add other herbs such as parsley, basil-only or young garlic. There are almost no limits. I recommend Leftover Pesto as well to serve along with the Gnocchi.