Let's admit it, we all love Italian food but we don't know how to cook it properly. Luckily for whoever is visiting and staying at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, there is an on site restaurant that offers real, authentic Italian food, Babydoll's! On the menu is one the most classic "primo piatto" (first dish) with the simplest ingredients: Gnocchi! (Pronounce "niokki")
Since we are still in lockdown and we cannot try Babydoll's gnocchi, we'll tell you exactly how to make them at home! It's not that complicated, just follow the recipe 😉
FOR POTATO GNOCCHI
Red potatoes 1 kg
White flour 300 g
Eggs 1 medium
FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE
Tomato passata/puree 600 g
Basil 6 leaves
1 clove garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
TO BAKE IN THE OVEN
Mozzarella, diced or shredded 250 g
Parmesan cheese, grated 70 g
HOW TO PREPARE GNOCCHI
Let’s start with the potatoes first! Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wash the potatoes under running water to remove any dirt and put them with the skin into the pot. Cook for about 30-40 minutes and test the consistency with a fork until they are tender.
To reduce time, you can also peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes, put them in a microwave-safe bowl, add 50ml of water, cover with transparent film and cook at 750W for 10/15 minutes.
IN THE MEANTIME, LET’S MAKE THE TOMATO SAUCE!
In a pan, fry the garlic and chopped onion with a drizzle of olive oil, add the tomato puree and salt to taste, season with basil then cover with the lid and cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes.
POTATOES ARE READY, TIME FOR THE DOUGH!
When the potatoes are ready, drain them well and peel the skin.
Prepare a large wooden board or a large surface with the sifted flour creating a hole in the middle. Mash the potatoes and put them in the middle. Pour the egg over the potatoes and salt to taste, then start kneading: this operation must be done rather quickly, just the time to compact the dough and give a homogeneous, soft consistency (not sticky but not too tough) to the dough. Cover it with a clean, dry tea towel and make sure it doesn’t stick to the board. If it does, add a bit of flour.
TIME TO COOK GNOCCHI
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add salt. Make sure that the water doesn’t boil but just simmers.
Meanwhile, divide the dough into 4 parts and keep it covered while you work on each part. With your hands and a sprinkle of flour, create strings of dough about 2-3 cm thick and cut tiny squares (your gnocchi). Put them aside on a tray with a tea towel and repeat for the rest of the dough. To give it the classic striped look you can use a fork to mark them in the middle.
Take a large bowl and pour almost all the tomato sauce in it.
Boil the gnocchi in the water by pouring them into the pot in at least 2-3 batches. They cook for a few minutes and are ready once they float on top. Drain the gnocchi with a skimmer as soon as they come to the surface and put them into the bowl with the sauce. Gently mix with a spoon.
IN THE OVEN!
Preheat the oven to 250°C static or grill mode.
In a baking dish, pour the remaining sauce on the bottom, drizzle with a bit of oil and pour the gnocchi with the sauce to form the first layer.
Cover with diced mozzarella and grated parmesan, then continue with a second layer of gnocchi and cover again with diced mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Bake your gnocchi for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve them piping hot and steaming!