There are really only two kinds of gnocchi we usually eat: Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi, which is a weeknight dinner staple around these parts, and restaurant gnocchi, because we’ve always assumed that making those little pillowy Italian dumplings took way more time and effort than we’d ever realistically be able to put into dinner at home. But according to Jamie Oliver (who has a way with potatoes, it turns out), that’s not how it has to be. He just shared an easy potato gnocchi recipe that he learned from “Nonna Teresa,” and not only is it an extremely affordable dish, it’s also accidentally vegan – made with no eggs or cheese.
Gnocchi recipes often include egg, which is used as a binder. Oliver says that the eggs are useful in restaurants because the gnocchi dough is made in advance, and the eggs help keep it together, but when you’re making fresh gnocchi at home, you can skip the egg. The result is lighter gnocchi instead of the leaden drops we’ve accidentally made a time or two at home.
Oliver’s recipe is simple, and uses super affordable ingredients. First, you boil whole potatoes, with the skins on. Wild, right? The skins are removed when the cooked potatoes are cool enough to handle, and they should slip right off.
Then, you mash the potatoes, mix them with a little bit of Italian 00 flour (which is finer than all-purpose flour), and sprinkle over half of a freshly grated nutmeg. Knead the mixture until a smooth dough forms. Then you roll the mix into two long ropes, and cut the gnocchi into little dumplings. You can roll them over the tines of a fork if you want them to have little ridges that will soak up extra sauce, but if you’re pressed for time don’t sweat it.
Then all you need to do is boil the gnocchi for a couple of minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the dumplings float to the surface.
We like to serve our fresh homemade gnocchi with a simple tomato basil sauce, or a creamy vodka sauce if we want something a little heartier. You can also pan-fry your potato gnocchi in olive oil or butter if you want to caramelize it a bit before adding the sauce.
Either way, Oliver’s easy potato gnocchi recipe proves not only that you can have this restaurant favorite at home without too much trouble, but also that vegan gnocchi is an easy but impressive entree for your meat-free friends and family.
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