If you are on the hunt for your next warming winter dish then look no further than today’s recipe which is like a hug on a plate! Soft parmesan gnocchi covered in a gorgeous, rich tomato and basil sauce with a hint of chilli and plenty of bacon. This is next level comfort food!
But there’s a small twist to this dish. If you have prepared gnocchi before you probably used plain flour to make your dough. Well today I have teamed up with Maizena Cornflour and have used cornflour as one of the main ingredients for light and soft gnocchi, yum! Maizena Cornflour is gluten free which means you are less likely to end up with tough, dense gnocchi (often caused by overworking the gluten in the dough) and that this meal is suitable for those following a gluten free diet. It’s a win win!
I have served the gnocchi with an arrabiata inspired sauce with a splash of cream and crispy bacon bits added for good measure. There are a couple of options when it comes to preparing the gnocchi. When cutting the gnocchi you can leave the pieces in “pillow” form, or use a fork to make indentations (perfect for catching more of that delicious sauce!). Once the gnocchi has been boiled you can serve it as is or fry it in some olive oil to add some texture contrast in the form of a golden, crispy outer layer. If you have never made gnocchi from scratch before please do yourself a favour and give this version a spin.
Like me you probably have a pack of Maizena Cornflour in your cupboard that you use for thickening sauces and stews. I also like to include some cornflour in my cakes to add lightness, and this recipe is just another way in which you can use this South African pantry staple!
- Use a potato ricer if you have one for even creamier mash.
- Make sure you season the mash well – nobody likes bland gnocchi!
- Omit the bacon for a hearty vegetarian meal
- Frying the gnocchi after boiling is completely optional but I love it because of the texture contrast it creates. You can absolutely skip this step though if you prefer soft gnocchi.
PARMESAN GNOCCHI IN A CREAMY BACON AND TOMATO SAUCE
For the gnocchi:
- 4 large potatoes (about 550g)
- 150g Maizena Cornflour + extra for dusting
- 1⁄3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- olive oil for frying (optional)
For the sauce:
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 100g bacon, diced
- ½ an onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- pinch of chilli flakes
- 1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
- 50g tomato paste
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup cream
- small handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper
- fresh basil to serve
1.) Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Remove the potatoes from the pot and allow to cool slightly.
2.) Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle (but not cold) peel the skins off. Halve the potatoes and mash in a bowl until smooth. Allow to cool.
3.) Add the Maizena Cornflour and parmesan to the mash. Season well with salt and pepper. Add most of the beaten egg and mix until everything comes together into a soft and ever so slightly sticky dough. If the dough is a bit crumbly add the remaining egg to make a cohesive dough.
4.) Divide the dough into four balls. Dust your work surface with a little Maizena Cornflour and roll each ball into a long log approximately 2cm in diameter. Cut each log into 2cm pieces. Set the gnocchi aside on a baking tray while you start the sauce.
Optional: use a fork dipped in cornflour to make indentations on the gnocchi.
5.) Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the bacon and fry until cooked and starting to crisp. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
6.) Heat the other teaspoon of olive oil in the same frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and chilli flakes and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, cream and basil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.
7.) Check the seasoning of the sauce. Blitz in a food processor for a few seconds and then stir in the bacon. Set aside.
8.) Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the gnocchi to the rapidly boiling water in batches and cook for 2-3 minutes until puffed up and cooked though. You can usually tell when the gnocchi is cooked because the pieces will float to the top. Use a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi and set aside in a warm place.
9.) Optional step: heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the cooked gnocchi and fry until golden on the outside.
10.) Heat the sauce up if it has cooled down slightly. Dish the gnocchi onto warm plates. Top with sauce and some fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Maizena. Recipe, images and words are my own.