This dish is a real crowd pleaser! Making gnocchi at home might seem like a daunting task, but if you follow these simple instructions it is really quite easy. The olive tapenade is super simple and can be used as a dip, salad dressing or on your sandwiches at a later date (so make extra!).
Sebago potatoes 1.2kg
Plain Flour 400g
Eggs 2 yolks
Rock salt 200g
Black olives 200g
Basil 1 bunch
Olive oil 100ml
Parmesan cheese 100g
1. Start by making the gnocchi. Lay the rock salt on an oven roasting tray and place sebago potatoes. Bake in the oven for 40mins at 180C until potatoes are tender. Baking the potatoes on the salt draws out excess moisture and means you need to use less flour when making the dough - resulting in a lighter gnocchi. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and set up a seperate container with ice water.
2. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the insides. Reserve the skins for another time. Mash or pass the potato through a drum sieve until there are no more lumps. Transfer the potato to a clean bench and gently mix together with flour and egg yolks. You do not want to work the mixture too much or else it will become glutenous. Work the dough into a log and cut into manageable pieces. Cover with tea towel.
3. Take each piece and roll it into a log about 1cm in diameter. Using a knife, cut the log into pieces approx. 2cm across. They should look like beautiful little pasta pillows! When you have finished cutting the log, transfer the gnocchi pieces into the boiling water. Cook in water until they float to the surface and then transfer into the ice water. This process of plunging into ice water is called 'refreshing' and will stop foods from overcooking. Repeat the process until all of the gnocchi has been rolled, cooked and refreshed.
5. When all of the gnocchi has been cooked, remove from iced water and let dry in a colander. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil so that the gnocchi does not stick together.
4. To make the tapenade, add the olives, picked basil leaves (reserving 2 leaves for garnishing), olive oil, and lemon juice into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add 50g of finely grated parmesan cheese and blend again.
5. To serve, cook gnocchi in a medium hot frying pan until golden. Add a small knob of butter and cook until foamy to add an extra layer of flavour and deliciousness. Add a spoonful of tapenade to the pan and mix. Transfer to serving platter or bowl. Peel or grate the remaining parmesan cheese over the pasta and garnish with torn basil.
SIDE NOTE: If serving a few people, you will need to cook the gnocchi in batches - if you add too much to the pan the gnocchi will not cook evenly!