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If you want a three way, have it with gniocchi

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Continuing the Italian way, let’s talk about gniocchi. Comforting, filling, really easy to make. First, you need a basic recipe for gniocchi:

Gniocchi:

500g potatoes

100g flour (and more for dusting)

salt

1 egg

1. Peel and cook potatoes in salted water. Drain and mash until smooth. When they are cool enough to handle, add flour and egg to them, mix and transfer onto a floured surface and kneed until the dough is smooth.

2. Boil water with a pinch of salt. Divide the dough into four pieces and shape each piece, using plenty of flour, into a long roll (2cm thick). Cut the rolls into equal-size rounds and roll it on the fork to make marks typical for gniocchi (or if you make a lot and don’t have time press the fork onto each one. When the water boils, add the gniocchi and cook for 2-3 min.

3. Remove them with a slotted spoon. You will have to do that in a few batches as you can’t crowd gniocchi in a pan otherwise they’ll stick together and won’t boil properly. And now! Onto the 3 way.

First Way:

Make basic tomato sauce. Start with heating olive oil in a pan, adding finely chopped shallots and 2 cloves of garlic. Sweat them for 2-3 min then add few chopped tomatoes (they can be canned). Add salt and pepper, splash or red wine or vodka if you want it to have a bit of a kick, simmer for 20 min on a low heat, add dried oregano and fresh basil. Serve gniocchi with your sauce and grated vegetarian parmesan.

gniocchi with tomato sauce and basil

gniocchi with tomato sauce and basil

Second Way:

Make pesto by putting into a food processor: a bunch of basil leaves, 100g of toasted pine nuts (or any nuts you like), zest of lemon, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 100g of grated vegetarian parmesan and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Blend it together and pour onto your cooked gniocchi. Sprinkle some more toasted nuts and parmesan on top before you serve it.

gniocchi with pesto

gniocchi with pesto

Third Way:

The third way is the easiest way. While you’re cooking your gniocchi, cut 300g of cherry tomatoes in half. Add salt and pepper, mix well. Add 2 balls of chopped or shredded mozzarella and a handful of chopped basil. Mix everything together and add gniocchi.  Delish!

gniocchi with mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes

gniocchi with mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes

gniocchi with mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes

gniocchi with mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes

P.S. If you don’t like potatoes or fancy something different, replace them with ricotta, add lemon zest. You can mix ricotta with goats cheese, add parmesan and probably 2-3 eggs. If you want it extra light, separate the eggs. Add yolks to the cheese plus 1 cup of sieved flour. Whisk egg whites and fold them into your dough. Using two spoons form gniocchi, spread them on a floured surface and boil just like the potato ones. For extra zing add chopped parsley or chives to your dough. You wouldn’t believe how nice they are.

riccota gniocchi

ricotta gniocchi

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About potatofaces

People who cook always go on about precious memories of childhood food one of their family members cooked, how daddy or nanny taught them the importance of cooking and eating together, and they still remember the comfort food they produced, amazing dishes whipped up by brilliant but humble cooks in their family. Well, let me tell you, it was totally different in my family. My mother’s family – totally useless as cooks, who could survive on bread and butter, cooked once a week a terrible, terrible meal, usually some kind of meat piece with lots of brown sauce. Also, they were never bothered about eating together. That’s maybe why most of them were depressed and suicidal. My mother followed that path and couldn’t really cook, and because I never wanted to eat meat, was warning me that ‘one day I will regret it’. Probably because my mother wasn’t into cooking my sister at the age of 12 took over and started producing amazing dinners and cakes. Well, luckily for me and her we weren’t that genetically doomed because apparently my father’s family were gifted in that compartment. I can only presume it was genes, as my father divorced my mother when my sis and me were little and he strongly believed that he also divorced us. So, we were growing up never having any contact with him and as a result, couldn’t learn how to cook from him. That’s why I believe the love of cooking ( and the ability) was just passed to us genetically. My father, short time before he died, unexpectedly felt an urge to contact us. First he gave my sister a mandolin (that’s another thing I know about him- he played a few instruments). My sister refused to talk to him, he then decided to contact me and wanted to spend some time with me. I didn’t want to, as he was a stranger to me (I was 11 or 12 at the time) but as I was promised I could leave whenever I wanted to, I went to the village he lived in. There I tried his mother’s cooking everyone was raving about. It was simple and amazing, I wish they were as family dedicated as they were at baking, cooking, making pastries, wine, tinctures, you name it. But I ate, drunk, and got bored of strangers who were my family and demanded to be let to go home. One of the last things my father said to me was that I should start learning English because I might need it one day, which I ignored for another 16 years… Because my sister was such a domestic goddess I wasn’t really bothered about cooking. I got hooked properly after my son was born and I wanted him to eat healthy and get everything he needed, especially that it wasn’t his choice to be a vegetarian (yet). And that is how the story begins…

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