This gnocchi dish is so simple, yet so rewarding. For those in a hurry, it’s easy to put together with pre-fabricated pasta and sauce, but if you have time to make this from scratch, you’ll easily achieve melt-in-your-mouth pasta and a rich, full-bodied sauce. I used Ginny Grant’s gnocchi recipe, replacing the Agria potatoes with dutch cream, and steamed the potatoes in quarters to save time. The brand of tuna I prefer is Sirena’s tuna in chilli oil, but you can use whichever brand suits.
1 tablespoon ricebran oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 x 400g diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg yolk
6 x 95g or 4.5 x 125g tins chilli tuna
A few handfuls of baby spinach
Parmesan cheese to serve
Cracked pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until the onion is golden and translucent.
- Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and wine. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.
- Transfer sauce to a food processor and process until smooth.
- Transfer the processed sauce back to the saucepan.
- Wash, peel, and quarter the potatoes.
- Steam the potatoes for 15 minutes, or until tender.
- Mash the potatoes until smooth.
- Mix the salt and egg yolk into the potatoes.
- Mix the flour through the potatoes.
- Turn the dough out on to a clean floured surface. Knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth. Divide the dough into quarters.
- Bring 1.7L of water to boil in a large saucepan.
- While the water is boiling, roll each dough quarter into a long sausage (about 30cm long and 1.5-2cm wide). Cut the length of dough into 2cm bites.
- Once the saucepan of water has come to a boil, cook the gnocchi in batches: Add one layer of gnocchi to the water at a time, ensuring there is space between each piece. When the gnocchi have floated to the top, scoop out with a slotted spoon.
Reheat the tomato sauce if necessary. Gently stir through the gnocchi, followed by the spinach and tuna. Transfer to bowls and serve with parmesan and pepper.
*A couple of pointers on making gnocchi that I’ve picked up along the way: Make sure the potatoes aren’t too laden with moisture or too processed. So to cook them, either microwave, bake, or steam them – don’t boil them. And to mash them, stick to a hand potato masher – don’t use a food processor.