Neil Perry's potato gnocchi with simple tomato sauce

Neil Perry
Potato gnocchi with tomato sauce.
Potato gnocchi with tomato sauce. Photo: William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Vegetarian

I recommend making a double batch of gnocchi since it freezes well: you can keep it for about six months and cook it from frozen. Crush the cooked potato when it's hot and then wait for it to cool to room temperature before adding the flour. You'll get a lighter result.

Ingredients

For the tomato sauce

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra, to serve)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

pinch of sea salt

400g can San Marzano whole tomatoes, diced

5 basil leaves

freshly ground black pepper

freshly grated parmesan, to serve

For the gnocchi

1.2kg large, dirty sebago potatoes*

300g high-protein flour

pinch of finely grated nutmeg

10g salt

Method

1. For the tomato sauce, place a saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. When hot, add the garlic and salt and cook to soften; don't colour or burn. Add the tomato and raise the heat, cooking until the sauce thickens. Tear the basil leaves and fold through; check seasoning and add pepper.

2. For the gnocchi, preheat oven at 150C fan-forced (170C conventional). Scrub potatoes under cold, running water to remove excess dirt, then wrap each potato individually in foil and roast for an hour or until cooked through; test with a skewer or paring knife.

3. Working quickly, remove foil, then peel away the potato skins using the back of a paring knife; you'll likely need a clean tea towel to hold the potato so you don't burn your fingers.

4. Crush the warm potato flesh by passing through a mouli or potato ricer or using a handheld masher, then set aside to cool. Later, sift the flour over the potato, sprinkle over the nutmeg, add salt and then rub ingredients together using your fingertips. This will ensure the ingredients are evenly combined; you don't want it to be gluey.

5. Bring dough together into a ball, then divide into four portions and roll each into a sausage of approximately 2cm diameter. Cut each sausage into 2cm lengths to form individual gnocchi. If not cooking them straight away, arrange a single layer on a tray and freeze; later, tip frozen gnocchi into an airtight container or bag and return to freezer until ready to cook.

6. Cook gnocchi (freshly prepared or frozen) in boiling salted water until they float to the top, then remove with a slotted spoon, place in 4 pasta bowls and dress with the tomato sauce. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan.

*Sebago are generally sold as "old potatoes" covered in dirt – and are ideal for making gnocchi. The dirt protects the potato from light and, ultimately, deterioration. Make sure they're firm, not spongy.

Find more of Neil Perry's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.

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