SWEET POTATO BUCKWHEAT GNOCCHI

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GNOCCHI-EDIT-FINALAfter having the most unbelievable melt in your mouth gnocchi experience at The Oak before Christmas, I've been intent on trying to recreate it.  And make it wheat free.  Gnocchi comes from Nocca meaning 'knuckles' in Italian and is traditionally made with potato, 00 flour and egg.  Well, that's the way in Northen Italy - in different regions they use different ingredients such as polenta, semolina and ricotta.  (FYI I tried polenta - my Mum said sawdust and glue sprung to mind). Anyway after a quite a few attempts, here is my delicious conclusion!

Buckwheat flour is amazing too because, despite its misleading name, it's actually a fruit seed, not a grain or cereal. It's actually related to sorrel and rhubarb ...

SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI WITH SAGE BUTTER & HAZELNUTS

Serves 5

* 3 Gnocchi Secrets *

It's important that the potato is super smooth.  You can puree the sweet potato in the blender but don't try that with the normal potato as it turns too gloopy.  Put it through a ricer, failing that, a sieve.

It's also important you use as little flour as possible when making the dough - less flour = softer (and less glue like) texture.

Also make sure your potatoes are reallly dry:  I cooked them the day before mashing them.

Ingredients

300g Pureed sweet potato

100g Mashed potato

80g Buckwheat flour

20g beaten egg

A good grating of nutmeg

Salt and Pepper

A handful of sage, chopped

50g Butter

70g Parmesan, grated

40g Hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and roughly chopped

Rapeseed oil

Method

1. Boil or bake your potatoes.

2. Put your potato through a ricer if possible and blend your sweet potato until very smooth.

3. Put potatoes in a bowl and add your egg, nutmeg and seasoning.

4. Add the buckwheat flour and bring together with your hands until it forms a soft dough.

5.  Flour your surface really well.

6.  Carefully break off chunks of dough, cover with flour and roll into sausages (about 2cm diameter). The dough will be quite wet and quite difficult to handle but don't worry as this is what makes it light.

7.  Refrigerate the sausages for 10 mins.

8.  With the back of a sharp knive, cut them into pillows, the length you want.  Press down on each pillow with a fork (if you can be bothered!)

9. Carefully drop in boiling water until they float (about 2 mins).

10. Drain well.

11. Heat some rapeseed oil in a frying pan and when hot, fry your gnocchi until golden brown and crispy.  Don't put too much oil in.

12. In a separate pan, fry your sage in the butter.

13.  Add sage butter and gnocchi together with hazelnuts, leaves and sprinkle with grated parmesan.  Serve quickly!