Recipe by author and content creator, Charlotte Ree.
There is nothing more impressive than making fresh pasta for dinner party guests, but I often find the task too time consuming, daunting even. But then I discovered the ease with which you can make this spectacular potato gnocchi. The perfect accompaniment to any pasta sauce, it becomes the show stopper when combined with the indulgence of buttered Italian sausage and greens.
To make your sauce, place olive oil in a heavy based cast iron pot on medium to low heat. Cook the sausage, breaking up the meat with the back of your wooden spoon, until golden. Add wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to return any caramelisation (which is wear the flavour hides) back to your sauce.
Add butter, cime di rapa and garlic (as well as the chilli flakes if using), seasoning with sea salt flakes and black pepper. Cook until sauce thickens and greens wilt, remove from heat and set aside.
To make the gnocchi, steam your potatoes over a pot of boiling water until tender. Remove and allow to cool slightly, so that they are still warm but not too hot to handle.
Press the potatoes through a potato ricer, onto a lightly floured work surface. If you don’t have a potato ricer, simply press the potato through a sieve using the back of a wooden spoon or you can also coarsely grate them.
Gather the pressed potato into a mound and make a well in the centre. Add egg yolk and sea salt flakes into the well. With clean, dry, floured hands, knead together, gradually adding the flour to create a light soft dough. You may not need to use all of your flour. Be careful not to overwork your dough, it should only take you a few minutes, as the longer you knead the more flour you will require, and the heavier the dough will become.
Dust the work surface, dough and your hands with flour. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Using the base of your palm, roll the dough on the lightly floured work surface until they form what I like to call potato snakes, that are 1.5cm wide.
Repeat with the remaining portions of dough. Line your potato snakes into parallel rolls, lightly dust with flour and working with three snakes at a time using a dough cutter or large kitchen knife, cut into 1.5cm pieces to form gnocchi. Transfer to a clean tea towel, or a chopping board or baking tray lined with baking paper. Set aside.
When ready to eat, return your sauce to a medium-low heat. Cook gnocchi in a large pot of salted simmering, not boiling, water till they float to the surface, transferring them to the sauce pot with a slotted spoon. You may need to do this in batches.
Reserve ½ cup of pasta water. Add reserved water to your sauce, gently stirring to combine. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.