Monday, January 19, 2009


I've been cooking gnocchi this week - simple comfort food at its best, whether you're in training or not.

If you are in training, you need to recover quickly from your big workouts so that you can continue on that seeminglyrelentless schedule. It is really important to have some high Glycaemic Index(GI) carbohydrate straight after a serious endurance training session. Simple, high GI carbs are digested quickly by the body and go directly to the muscles, fast. This allows our poor old muscles to recover and repair...ready for the next pounding. 

Well potato gnocchi is a nice tasty way of doing just that. Potatoes are on the higher end of the GI spectrum and so are a good choice for an evening meal after a big workout. What's more, the rest of the family will love them too, so you won't have to cook  something especially for yourself.  You can make them in advance and pop them in the freezer if you want...they still only take minutes to cook straight from the freezer. Here's how to do it:

Potato Gnocchi

6-8 good sized flour potatoes (about 1 kg) - King Edwards are good
300g plain flour (Italian 00 flour is best if you can get it, otherwise, make sure you sieve the flour first)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Boil the potatoes in their skins in salted water for about 25 minutes until tender.
  2. Remove the potatoes and when they are cool enough to handle, peel the skins carefully with a sharp knife
  3. Using a potato ricer, mince the potatoes. If you don't have a potato ricer, mash them or even grate them.
  4. Add the egg and then mix in the flour, a tsp. salt and plenty of black pepper. Do this all quickly and lightly as otherwise the gnocchi will be heavy
  5. Using you hands, bring together the mixture into a dough. Put the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently and lightly.
  6. Take a handful of the dough and roll it into a sausage shape. Cut into little gnocchi, about 1.5 to 2 cm long, with a sharp knife and put them into a floured container. Now they are ready to cook (or if you are freezing them, they are ready to freeze).
  7. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a rolling boil. Put the gnocchi into the water in batches for a few minutes. When they rise to the surface they are cooked. Remove them from the  water with a slotted spoon and serve immediately tossed in your favourite sauce or drizzled with olive oil, flat-leaf parsley and plenty of black pepper.
  8. When you've mastered the basic recipe (it honestly doesn't take much mastering actually) you can experiment by adding fresh herbs to the basic mixture or by using different root veg. - pumpkin is really good.
  9. Take a look at for a delicious gnocchi with mushroom sauce recipe.

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