Parsley Gnocchi – The End of The Bunch

baked_marabel_potatoes_for_gnocchi

The end of The Parsley Trilogy!  Am I sick of parsley?  Not one little bit, I actually bought the same sized bunch again today (along with all of the food) to go in some Minestrone (I’ll tell you about it later) and maybe some tabouleh but probably not as the weather is pretty grim here up North.

I had never eaten gnocchi.  Truth.  I do indeed love food, you’re right.  I absolutely love to eat, right again! But whenever I had seen gnocchi on the menu it’s just seemed too much, y’get me?  A plate full of what are essentially small potato dumplings sound like a food baby waiting to happen.  As I’ve eaten my way through them (and I have, greedily, covered in parsley & walnut pesto with truffle oil, mostly at midnight after work, in pyjamas watching old episodes of QI) I’ve realised that they are perfect in small doses.

sieving_marabel_potatoes_for_gnocchi

Were they a hassle to make? Nope.  Were they messy?  Only the fun kind.  The dough created is so soft and light I felt like a kid in the kitchen again.  They actually kept quite well in the fridge for a few days too,  I didn’t even cover them in oil.  Yeah, they stuck together ever so slightly but I’d rather pluck them apart a bit then coat them in oil (when I reheated them they were in oily pesto, I didn’t want double oil).

parsley_gnocchi_dough

The recipe I “followed” was this (The Parsley Gnocchi With Goat’s Curd and Hazelnuts about a third the way down the page – can you tell I was looking for inspiration?!) I’ve adapted it slightly.  The most important change being not to boil them for 5 minutes.  Madness.  If you don’t whip them out shortly after they float you will have nothing but lumpy potato water-broth-soup and have to start boiling water all over again.  Bleurgh.

freshly_cut_parsley_gnocchi

Would I change anything next time?  Absolutely.  Whilst they were delicious soft pillows of delight they were slightly sweet because the potatoes had been baked.  I should have known better. Next time I’ll be boiling the potatoes in their skins (minimises water absorption) in salty water.  They’d be perfect with a really sharp piquant sauce but I wasn’t expecting it.

This made enough for about six people for a light supper, about 72 pieces approximately.

1kg Marabel potatoes – I used Marabel because they have a butteryness I love
Large bunch of parsley, blitzed to a paste in a blender (I didn’t blanch it) – makes them green! Yay for green food!
1 beaten egg
300g plain flour
50g butter
Salt & pepper

I stabbed my potatoes four times with a knife and baked them at 200 for an hour.
I let them cool for about twenty minutes until I could hold them.
One by one I split them in two and turfed out their potato fluff into a sieve – I don’t own a potato ricer, got one? crack on – and pressed it through with the back of a spoon. Leave the potatoes in their skins until you’re ready to smoosh so they don’t dry out.
Add the parsley mush, butter, seasoning and flour.
Very gently bring all of this together, do not overwork the flour or the dough will be gluey and tough (the lightest muffins and fluffiest pancakes don’t have their batters beaten to death now, do they?).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.

Lightly flour your work surface and turn out the dough. I did it in four batches.
Keep the dough dusted with flour so it doesn’t stick, it’s very delicate.
Gently roll it into a rope about 1″-1.5″ wide. With a blunt knife bravely chop it into pieces, dusting the knife with flour if it begins to tear the dough.  Lightly coat them with flour so they don’t stick together. I pressed mine gently with a fork on an angle which is why they look like fatty ovals! Pop your pieces of gnocchi onto a plate.

I chopped half of my ropes at a time and then cooked them so I didn’t overcrowd my pan.  Use your judgement here with your pan size.  Tip the gnocchi off the plate and into the boiling water.  Whilst I waited for them to come to the surface – about 2-3 minutes – I chopped and plated the remaining half of the rope.  When they were floating around I used a sieve to lift them out onto a different plate and left them to cool for a couple of minutes, carefully draining any excess water.

I repeated this for all of the dough and piled them all onto one plate once they were cool.  They firmed up and were a little tacky but as long as I was gentle none of them broke or ripped apart.

That was it!  I covered them with cling film and kept them happily in the fridge.  They’ve been a good little stand by that’s quick to reheat, I’d probably feel healthier if I had them on a bed of spinach/rocket/chard but they were pretty tasty nonetheless.  I think next time I’ll hit up some butternut squash with sage, parmesan and a little chilli!

parsley_gnocchi

Parsley and Walnut Pesto

parsley_and_walnut_pesto

The Great Parsley Trilogy Part Deux.  This was the real super star when it came to actually using up the bulk of the parsley.  It takes a lot of it, I’m not gonna lie, but it wouldn’t be parsley pesto with only a token amount now, would it.

I’m afraid I didn’t use or record measurements.  It was very much a go as you feel happening.  That’s ok every now and then, right?  It was basically all of the things I needed to use up.  The parmesan, all the parsley and some walnuts which had been lurking in the baking cupboard for almost too long.

ingredients_for_parsley_and_walnut_pesto

Aglio_e_olio_ingredients

This made two small jars, or two mugs full.. maybe two US cups.

Approximately 400ml of really good quality olive oil.  The best you can afford, it’s a main flavour here so you’ll taste the difference!
Two handfuls of finely chopped parsley
One sliced clove of garlic – but there are two in the photos? Yep.  It was way too much, even for me
A handful of finely grated parmesan
100g walnuts (I know the weight only because the packet said so, heh)
A big squeeze of lemon juice, about 1 tbsp
Truffle oil to serve

Now, I made the mistake of doing this in a blender. No way. If you have a food processor you use that baby! I’d rather bash it in a bowl with a rolling pin than deal with it in a blender again.
Parsley and oil first, to get things on the move.
Then walnuts, garlic and parmesan.
Add the lemon juice bit by bit to your liking.
So far whenever I’ve cooked with this I’ve drizzled truffle oil over the top. Truffles and walnuts? Absolute winner.