Potato gnocchi with creamy sundried tomato sauce

Winter is the season for slowing down. To me, that means taking some extra time to create some of my favourite comfort foods – those dishes that take a little extra effort but shouldn’t be rushed.

Do take the time this Winter to make these pillowy potato gnocchi – I used a gnocchi paddle for creating those beautiful ridges that hold the rich sauce. It’s not only therapeutic to make, but very rewarding to eat. The sauce is the easiest part, just blend & cook gently for a few minutes. Topped with crispy pan-fried breadcrumbs, lashing of oozy burrata cheese and fresh basil, these plates will brighten up any winters day!

PS: A glass of Pierneef La Motte Sauvignon Blanc will lighten the load of the gnocchi maker(s), and pairs beautifully with the rich sauce.

*Note: Don’t use sun-dried tomatoes in oil, use sun-dried tomatoes in vinaigrette – they are much softer and have a lot of punchy flavour, and you will also use the vinaigrette.

For the gnocchi: (serves 4)

1 kg floury potatoes
1 XL egg
2 cups (280 g) stoneground cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the sundried tomato sauce:

1 can whole Italian tomatoes
240 g sundried tomatoes in *vinaigrette (keep some separate, sliced, for garnish)
125 ml fresh cream
salt & pepper
125 g burrata (optional)
fresh basil

Crisp breadcrumbs, for topping (optional)

a few slices ciabatta or panini rolls
a splash of olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

For assembling:

a handful fresh basil leaves
125 g burrata cheese
some finely grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Prepare the gnocchi: Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender (about 30 min – continue with the sauce below while they cook). Drain the water, then leave to cool slightly – cool enought to peel. Peel, then push through a potato ricer (or gently grate over the medium coarse side of a cheese grater). Add to a mixing bowl, then add 1 egg, 1 cup flour, salt and some pepper. Use a fork to mix up the egg a little, then stir until it starts to clump. Use your hands to gently work into a ball that is not sticky anymore, adding more flour as you go, but not overworking the dough. Cut the dough into about 8 portions, then roll each out on a floured surface into a long “snake” that’s about 1,5cm thick. Cut each snake into small portions, then use your gnocchi paddle to shape them individually into ridge gnocchi balls. Place them on a large floured tray as you go.

Prepare the sauce: In a blender, add the canned tomatoes and sundried tomatoes with all the vinaigrette, then blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes over low heat, then add the cream, stir and season with salt & pepper. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, then serve hot with the freshly cooked gnocchi. (Can be made ahead and reheated.)

Prepare the breadcrumbs: (optional) Add the crumbs, oil and seasoning to a pan and toast over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Assembling: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the prepared gnocchi and cook until they float to the surface, then for 1 minute more (about 2-3 minutes in total). Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the warm prepared sauce, then stir gently to coat all over and spoon into bowls. Top with pieces of burrata, some fresh basil, crispy crumbs and grated parmesan. Serve at once.

(This post was created in proud collaboration with La Motte Wines.)

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