Gnocchi is an impressive home-made alternative to pasta, traditionally it includes an egg yolk along with the potato and flour. They’re a little more fragile without, so handle carefully! This recipe serves two, so actually only uses just over a quarter of your weekly bacon ration. For a vegetarian alternative though, you could replace the bacon with mushrooms or smoked cheese.
2 large baking potatoes
50g ‘00’ pasta flour
100g crème fraiche
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and bake them for an hour or until they give when you squeeze them.
- While they’re cooking, chop the bacon into tiny pieces. Tear the chard leaves from their stems, cut the stems into 1cm lengths, and roughly chop the leaves.
- Fry the bacon until it starts to brown and get crispy. Add a little oil if you need to. Then add the chard stalks and sauté until soft.
- Remove the bacon and chard stems to a bowl and add the leaves to the frying pan. Cook until wilted then tip them out into a sieve and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Add to the bacon and chard stalks and mix in the crème fraiche. Then wash the frying pan.
- When the potatoes are done, remove from the oven. As soon as you can handle them, cut in half and scoop out the flesh. Weigh the potato flesh. You should have about 400g. Push it through a sieve with the back of a spoon (it’s very important this happens when the potatoes are hot or the starch will go gluey).
- Season the potato with salt and add the 00 flour. You might not need it all, just enough to bring the potato together into a soft dough.
- Put a large pan of water on to boil. Roll quarter of the dough into a long sausage about 1.5 cm wide then chop it into 2cm-long pieces. They should look like little pillows. Repeat with the remaining dough then drop all the gnocchi into the boiling water.
- Cook until they bob to the surface of the water and then for another two minutes. Remove from the pan to a plate with a slotted spoon. If you have time, give them half an hour in the fridge to firm up. If not, don’t worry.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in the frying pan and fry the gnocchi for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Add the bacon and chard mixture back to the pan and heat through then serve immediately.
Ifs and Ands
- If you feel like using some of your cheese allowance, you could transfer the gnocchi and sauce to an ovenproof dish, dot the top with blue cheese and grill until bubbling.
- Spinach would work in place of chard. The important thing is to squeeze out the moisture.
- Gnocchi are great with almost any sauce. Blitz herbs and nuts into pesto. Make a fresh tomato sauce. Go with just butter an parmesan. Whatever you feel like.
- Keep the potato skins as they make a great snack. Tear them into bite sized pieces, spread out on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Season with salt, pepper and any spices you like (paprika works well) then bake for a few minutes to make a crunchy snack. Maybe melt some cheese on top like nachos or use as a vehicle for hummus or another dip.
This recipe is written by Clare Heal: a food writer, a private chef and a 2015 WW2 Rationing Challenge participant! You can read more about her on her website and you can read her blog post about the WW2 Rationing Challenge here