Gnocchi, yum! What more is there to say!
Gnocchi for me is high on my list of comfort foods. I'm sure it has something to do with potatoes! It's such a lovely humble dish that really doesn't need too much work to taste fabulous. And after a few attempts, you'll be able to do it by feel alone.
When you're choosing your potatoes, try and pick old ones. The older they are the less water they contain and the higher the starch content. My fabulous neighbor John taught me this trick, and he has his own pasta airing cupboards. Trust me, John knows pasta!
I started making gluten free gnocchi a few years ago when my good friend Bianca was lamenting over her pre-coeliac pasta eating days. Yes she missed eating pasta, but she certainly didn't miss the side effects. According to Coeliac Australia, one in one hundred people suffer from coeliac disease, but 75% remain undiagnosed. That is approximately 160,000 people, which is quite staggering.
I was determined to cook fabulous nourishing gluten free dishes for Bianca, and I have to say I was glad for the challenge. My cooking style has changed quite drastically since my first foray into the world of a coeliac. I am not a sufferer, but I have over the years opted for gluten variations on dishes and I'm now making a conscious effort to reduce my intake further. Or at least opting for organic whole or ancient grain substitutes.
There is tonnes and tonnes of evidence emerging that gluten free diets are not only good for weight loss, but can also reduce aliments like asthma, dermatitis and autism. Just look at the paleolithic diet, that craze is spreading like wildfire. Even my sister is on it! There is also loads of evidence that gluten free dieting is just another fad. I'll be honest, I am on the fence with this one. What I will say is its worth seeing a naturopath to find out what your body needs.
Regardless, I will continue to enjoy a homely steaming hot bowl of Gluten Free Gnocchi
Gluten Free Gnocchi - Serves 4
- 6 large potatoes
- 1/2 cup of organic tapioca starch (reserve 1/4 cup for dusting and rolling)
- sea salt
- Place your potatoes in a pot of cold salted water on high heat. Leave the skin on your potatoes, you don't want them to absorb any extra water. Boil your potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until they are soft the whole way through. You can check with a fork or skewer.
- Drain and leave your potatoes to cool slightly. Peal off the skins, and break the potato into chunks and pass through a metal sieve to get a fine mash. If you have a potato ricer use it! I've just ordered this one from Peter's of Kensington.
- Add half of your tapioca starch to your fine mash. Combine the gnocchi into a dough and knead for 3-5 minutes (I do it all in a bowl). It should be very soft and slightly sticky if it's still a little warm. If your finding it's too sticky add a little more of your tapioca starch. This really depends on how big your potatoes are, the variety and if they absorbed any water whilst boiling. Sticky is ok, as long as the dough can hold a shape.
- Dust your surface. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each section into a sausage. Using a sharp knife, cut into 'pillows'. Place on dusted baking paper on a tray. You can refrigerate for a day or two before cooking, but it's best to eat it fresh.
- To cook your gnocchi gently place it into salted boiling water. When the gnocchi floats, it ready to remove and gently toss into your sauce.
I love gnocchi with a simple tomato sauce, fresh basil and lovely fresh grated Romano or Pecorino cheese. On this particular occasion, I did throw in a few local tiger prawns. Enjoy!