Whenever I return home to Australia, I always feel very nostalgic. Maybe it’s sleeping in my childhood bedroom or being surrounded by decades of memorabilia or maybe it’s just having my family around. Whatever it is, I always, always feel the urge to recreate my grandmother’s recipes.
My grandmother is an incredible Italian cook. She grew up in Calabria, in Southern Italy, and her recipes are those she learnt from her own grandmother and great grandmother. If you ask anyone in my family what their favourite dish is, they will inevitably mention one of my grandmother’s dishes.
This is my favourite. Potato gnocchi that are so soft and light they melt in your mouth a bit like mashed potatoes. These might look a little daunting to make, but they aren’t really. If you can’t get the gnocchi’s signature pillow shape, just roll them like sausages and cut them into little squares like my mother-in-law does.
1kg russet potatoes
2 ½ – 3 cups white flour
3 egg yolks
Scrub the potatoes. Leave whole and unpeeled, and place in a large pot. Cover with water and boil for 25-30 minutes.
When soft, drain and leave to air dry for a few minutes. Peel off the skins and use a mouli to finely mash while still warm. Place in a large bowl and add 3 teaspoons of salt. Mix well and leave to cool.
Add the yolks to the potatoes and mix well. Gradually add the flour, one cup at a time until the dough isn’t sticky. Knead until it resembles bread dough and holds its shape.
Divide into eight pieces. Roll each into a sausage and cut into fingernail-sized pieces. Dust with flour.
Use a gnocchi board or a fork to get the shape. Make sure the fork is well floured or it will stick. Place on a floured tablecloth while you do the rest of the dough.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Add the gnocchi. Don’t stir or the gnocchi will fall apart. When they come up to the surface, drain and mix into your sauce.
Serve these gnocchi with a basic tomato sauce or add a little bit of mince for something special. This is the perfect dish for a New Year’s dinner… hint, hint!