Gnocchi is one of the greatest winter meals. It’s best served warm, full of starchy potatoes and a creamy sauce. Something that makes it even more personal, though, is making the pasta from scratch.
But gnocchi can be a daunting dish. Fortunately, MasterChef star Khanh Ong, AKA the chef behind these masterful vegemite chicken dumplings, has come to save the day with a nutty and zesty gnocchi dish that’s mere recipe description is already titillating my tastebuds.
Taken from Ong’s new recipe book, A Gay Guy’s Guide to Life, Love, Food, ‘Gnocchi for Gays’ is an edible love letter to Ong’s favourite boys.
Speaking in an extract about the recipe, he wrote:
“Let’s talk about my gays. They make me laugh, they make me cry, they deal with my melodramatic and melancholic personality, they make me want abs (they all have abs; I don’t know how that’s even possible due to their constant consumption of carbs). They sometimes make me cringe, but without them, I would be a sheltered gay man not fully exposed to our wonderful community. For that, I love them dearly.”
How bloody wholesome is that? Don’t be fooled by the recipe’s name and that touching note, however, Ong’s gnocchi dish is one you’ll be adding to your weekly shopping list no matter what you identify as.
How to make Khanh Ong’s nutty gnocchi recipe
What you’ll need:
- 1 kilogram of starchy potatoes, either Yukon gold or royal blue (try to choose potatoes that are medium-sized and fairly uniform).
- 120 to 150 grams of play four, plus extra for dusting.
- A pinch of sea salt.
- 180 grams of butter, cut into cubes.
- 1 bunch of sage, leaves picked.
- 1 zest of lemon.
- 1/2 lemon juice.
- 50 grams (roughly 1/2 cup) of toasted pine nuts.
- Nice chunk of parmesan, to serve.
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Put your potatoes on a baking tray and bake them for 35 to 45 minutes until you can prick them with a skewer with no resistance. Keep checking them because the time will depend on your spuds.
- While the potatoes are still as hot as you can handle, chop them in half and use a spoon to scoop the insides into a mixing bowl. Using a potato ricer, rice the potato onto a lightly floured work surface.
- Sift 120 grams of the flour onto the potato and add a generous pinch of salt. Gently bring the potato and flour together into a dough. You don’t want to overwork it, the dough should be soft and just holding together. If the mixture is too wet, add a little more flour (You can test a pinch of dough by dropping it in boiling water—if it breaks apart, add more flour).
- Lightly flour your work surface again. Roll pieces of your perfect dough into logs about 2 cm thick, then cut into 3 cm lengths. You can roll each gnocchi over a fork if you’re pairing them with a heartier sauce, but we are frying these so I like them to look like pillows.
- Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi for 1 to 2 minutes until they rise to the surface.
- While the gnocchi is cooking, pop 50 grams of the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. By the time the butter melts, your gnocchi should be starting to rise to the surface. As they do, live them out with a slotted spoon, drain well, then throw them into the frying pan and cook, giving them a gentle toss occasionally to coat in the butter, for 2 to 4 minutes until golden. Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm.
- Wipe out the frying pan, throw in the remaining butter, and cook over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until brown and fragrant. Add the sage leaves and cook until crisp. Pour the sage butter over the gnocchi and sprinkle with the lemon zest and juice and toasted pine nuts.
- Serve immediately with a block of parmesan and a cheese shaver, and let our mates add as much as they want.
A Gay Guy’s Guide to Life, Love, Food by Khanh Ong, Published by Plum, RRP $34.99, Photography by Lauren Bamford. Click here to grab it.