I remember when I was a teenager I made gnocchi from a packet and I found it revolting. I could have just accepted that I didn't like gnocchi and let it go, except it really bothered me that everyone raved about gnocchi. How could anyone like this? I thought. Was I missing something or was it the most overrated pasta? So I cooked it again and again hoping that I'd like it. I didn't and I gave up on it for years.
It wasn't until two years ago that I tried fresh gnocchi in a restaurant and it all made sense to me. It's not supposed to be tough, chewy and gluggy! It's meant to be soft and silky. Because there was such a big difference between bad gnocchi and good gnocchi, I figured that the recipe must be really difficult or the chef must have added some secret ingredient - otherwise, why didn't they have good gnocchi in packets? I was wrong again. Turns out, it's ridiculously simple to make but the key to really good gnocchi (other than a good potato-flour ratio) is freshness.
Click here for a simple baked potato gnocchi recipe. Baking the potato removes excess moisture and makes the gnocchi less gummy.
Keep in mind to use as little flour as possible. You only need enough to hold the gnocchi dough together (between 1 and 2 cups). Otherwise it won't be silky.
My batch stayed perfectly soft and silky in the fridge for two days.
For the sauce, you'll need:
300g butternut squash, diced into 1.5cm cubes
3 slices prosciutto (I used Serrano), plus more for garnish
25g unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
2 French shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sage leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cream
Blanch pumpkin cubes in simmering salted water for 2 minutes. Remove and place into a bowl of iced water.
Fry prosciutto in a bit of olive oil until fragrant and crispy. Remove and leave to rest.
Add half of the butter into the pan. Fry a few sage leaves in the butter until crispy. Remove and leave to rest.
Fry pumpkin in the same pan on as many sides you can be bothered until brown. Season with salt. Remove and leave to rest.
Add the rest of the butter and saute shallots, garlic and sage until the shallots are translucent.
Add pumpkin, prosciutto, parsley and cream. Remove from heat when combined.
Cook the gnocchi in rapidly boiling salted water. It's ready when it floats to the top of the water.
Place gnocchi and a little bit of pasta water into the sauce and stir together.
Garnish with a slice of prosciutto, more parsley, fried sage leaves and parmesan cheese.