C cooks: Pan-fried Mascarpone Gnocchi

Ah, gnocchi. C doesn't know exactly what it is about the stuff, but she's been obsessed with the soft potato dumplings since a trip to Rome in spring last year. Her first trip to the Italian capital with L (aforementioned on this blog), they spent the last night of their city break sitting in Piazza Navona square eating the best gnocchi you could ever imagine - a dish that was the very epitome of the phrase 'melt-in-the-mouth good'. Since then, C's had a real love of the stuff and has been on the hunt for a dish to rival the Piazza Navona version here in the UK (so far to no avail).

With this in mind, C found herself unexpectedly at home one evening recently and resolved to treat herself to gnocchi. Exhausted from a long week at work, though, she didn't much feel like spending ages faffing around with potatoes, and so found a different gnocchi recipe from Lorraine Pascale - a quick version made from mascarpone and parmesan.

Melt-in-the-mouth-mascarpone good

Serve with a salad for soft gooey refreshingness

Not only was it super quick to make (even the first time following the recipe), it was also pretty tasty too. A self-indulgent dish, it nonetheless makes a delicious, easy dinner once in a while.

So here's how she did it, if you want to give it a go yourself:

(Note: the ingredients quoted here make 4-6 portions; C halved the ingredients and still had enough to freeze over half of what she made for easy weekday dinners)
  • 100g/3½oz parmesan (or a similar vegetarian alternative), grated 
  • Small handful of fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked (or 1 tbsp of dried oregano)
  • 350g/12oz mascarpone
  • 300g/10½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • Olive oil
  • 50g/2oz butter

Oregano (C had no fresh thyme)

Gnocchi lump

Sizzling away in butter (er, not so healthy)

 And here's how she made it:
  1. Tip the grated parmesan into a bowl. Add the thyme or dried oregano, along with the mascarpone, plain flour, eggs and salt and pepper to taste. Mix this all together for a few minutes to give a soft dough - you might have to put your back into it a bit! Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead together form a smooth ball.
  2. Divide the mixture into three and roll each one out into a 'sausage' about 60cm/23½ in long. Cut each ‘sausage’ into 2cm/1 in pieces to give about 30 (so 90 in total). At this stage, if there's any gnocchi that you're not eating that evening, you can place them on baking paper and on a baking tray and stick them in the freezer - and then cook them from frozen for a 5 minute mid-week dinner!
  3. Put a large frying pan on a medium to high heat with a drizzle of oil and the butter. Transfer the gnocchi into the frying pan and turn the heat down low. Leave the gnocchi to cook on one side for a minute or two, before carefully turning them over with a slice. Cook them for a further few minutes, continuing to gently turn them every so often until they're crisp and golden all over and warmed through.
  4. Once all the gnocchi are cooked, serve. It tastes really good with homemade pesto, fresh rocket or with a salad, and topped with pine nuts.

Et voila!


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