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You mustn’t be afraid of making gnocchi; it’s really very quick. I make these gnocchi using coarsely bashed new potatoes instead of mashed floury main-crops. They have a rougher quality that I find more interesting. I like to serve as many peas and broad beans as I can get on the plate and I add lots of parsley – being generous with herbs can improve your cooking exponentially.
50g (1¾oz) unsalted butter
200g (7oz) podded or frozen peas
200g (7oz) podden broad beans
1tbsp finely chopped chives
1tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
For the Gnocchi:
500g (1lb 2oz) new potatoes
200g (7oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g (2½oz) hard sheep's or cow's cheese, finely grated, plus extra to serve
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
First, make the gnocchi. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10–15 minutes, until tender, then drain well and allow to steam off for 5 minutes.
Tip out the potatoes onto a clean work surface and use a pair of forks to rough them up – don’t mash, just chop and fork the potatoes, this helps give the gnocchi a little texture.
Scatter over the flour followed by the cheese and the parsley and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently bring everything together to make a firm, warm dough.
Knead the dough gently for a few minutes, then divide it into four equal parts. Use your hands to roll out each quarter into long cylindrical lengths about 2cm (¾in) thick. Cut the lengths into 2–3cm (¾–1¼in) pieces and, as you pick them up, give them a gentle pinch before laying them out over a lightly flour-dusted tray.
To cook, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. At the same time set a wide shallow frying pan over a low heat and add the butter.
Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until they rise to the surface. Carefully scoop out all the gnocchi using a slotted spoon and place them into the warm butter. Now add the peas and broad beans to the same boiling water and simmer for 2 minutes before lifting all these out into the butter with the gnocchi, too.
Add the chives and tarragon to the pan with the gnocchi and season everything with some salt and pepper. Then, divide between warm plates and serve sprinkled with a little more finely grated cheese and trickled with olive oil.
Recipe from Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower by Gill Meller
Publisher: Quadrille Books
Photography: Andrew Montgomery