We are a family who loves cereals and grains: we love our pastas, pizzas, risottos and polenta. Grains can provide several important nutrients to your daily diet.
My mantra is and always will be: a Mediterranean diet for every day of the week.
One of the problems with modern grains though is that in the last few decades they have been genetically modified, some more than others with wheat being the worst offender. This is why so many people suffer from gluten intolerance and this problem seems to be on the increase. I have been partially affected too with my sensitive gut but for me, that I am not a celiac and don't want to become one, I can get away with varying the grains on my diet. I have a friend who is a microbiologist and has a good knowledge of plants and grains; he said to me that we all get affected by consuming too much modern wheat but in different ways. Modifying wheat was certainly a smart choice from a business point of view but at the expense of our health.
Thankfully there is plenty of choice like for example: spelt, kamut, rye, barley which contain less gluten than wheat, whereas buckwheat, rice, corn, amaranth, millet, teff, quinoa are gluten free. Most doctors will say "vary your diet" therefore alternating your grains can only be a good idea too.
You will find that the consistency of these gn0cchi is different and softer than traditional gnocchi made with wheat. This is why you will need to use your judgement when you make them (and this is the case for traditional gnocchi too). The dough should not be sticky and you should be able to roll your gnocchi easily. If the consistency is too sticky than add extra flour and if it is too dry, add an extra egg to combine the mixture well.
Some people add sweet rice flour to help combine the mixture but I found that ordinary rice flour works fine too.
Gluten free gnocchi dough behaves differently from the traditional one: if you add extra flour your gnocchi when cooked won't be hard and chewy. My mum told me that the first time she made gnocchi they were so hard that she gave them to the hens in the garden but they could not eat them either: their beak was stuck in the dough! She never made gnocchi ever again. Well, be assured, you will never get that with gluten free gnocchi.
I have served them with a simple "salsa al pomodoro" or tomato sauce with fresh basil leaves and olive oil but of course you can enjoy them with a tasty meat ragu' too or just with a classic butter and sage sauce.
This recipe serves 4.
- Prep Time : 40 minutes
- Cook Time : 40 minutes
- Yield : 4
- floury potatoes (like Maris Piper or Desiree) - 800 g - 1.8 lb
- egg - 1 large or 2 small
- rice flour (or cornflour) - 200 g - 1 + 1/3 cup but more might be needed
- For the sauce:
- tomato sauce (passata) - 400 ml - 13 fluid oz
- fresh basil leaves - handful
- garlic cloves - 2
- sea salt
- extra virgin olive oil
Put the potatoes in a sauce pan (without peeling them), cover them with cold salty water and bring to the boil. Cook for 30 minutes or until soft.
Drain, wait a few minutes for them cool down a little then peel them (do not wait until they are completely cold). Remove their skin and using a potato ricer, mash the potatoes and spread them out on your work top to cool down completely.
Add the egg, a good pinch of salt and using your hands combine all the ingredients well.
Add the rice flour a little bit at a time and incorporate it well with the potatoes.
Cut portions of the dough then roll it like cigars and cut them into little bits. Add a little extra flour if the mixture feels too sticky to knead or if it is too dry and crumbly add an extra egg. You can now make little balls by rolling the gnocchi between the palm of your hands.
Let's make the sauce.
In a pan stir fry the garlic cloves with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the the tomato sauce, salt and pepper and the basil leaves. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes over a gentle heat stirring from time to time.
Bring some water to the boil and when it is simmering cook the gnocchi by dropping them into the water a few at a time. They are cooked when they begin to float to the top. Strain them using a slotted spoon and put them onto your serving dish.
Put the sauce on top, a drizzle of olive oil and serve.
You can sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top if you like.
If you are into gluten free check out my chestnut gnocchi recipe too.