We all love potatoes, well so I think. Let’s say most of us like potatoes, in my family, we love them ( aren’t Germans called potato heads?)
They are staple of nutrition and still one of the most planted and harvested crops together with corn, rice and wheat.
Their history is an old one, first potatoes being planted and harvested in Peru , Chile and Bolivia about 5000 BC…a long, very long time ago.
After the Spanish conquest, these little spuds were introduced to Europeans.
Not welcome right away, but with a growing population, soon to be loved.
However, they were still simple plants and not very refined and hence very susceptible to disease and so it happened, that the whole potato crop in Ireland was destroyed by a disease called blight. A fungus killing the plants and this lead to the Irish Famine in 1845 and to a mass exodus to North America.
In modern days they got a bad reputation because of the carbohydrates…remember the low carb diet?
Well, but the potatoes have something called a resistant starch and that is a starch that goes into the large intestine and prevents you from getting colon cancer, depending of course on how you cook them. So maybe French fries do not count. Darn.
Compared to wheat and rice a medium size potato has much less calories and lets face it, they are delicious.
And now, after this little introduction of a big staple in our kitchens, I will show you how to make a little dumpling, made from potatoes, egg and flour, called gnocchi, what a cute little name for something so delicious.
Here you go:
5 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed in big pieces ( I used Yukon Gold)
1 cup and a bit of flour
salt and pepper
Boil the potatoes in salt water until done. Let cool down and now we are preserving the resistant starch, that later on will do good things in our large intestine.
Now push the potatoes through a ricer
Add the egg, salt and pepper ( I used white pepper, did not want black specks in my gnocchi).
Mix well and now add the flower, bit by bit, do not overwork, too much gluten will be released and that will make them less fluffy.
You should have a nice ball of dough
Now divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a long string.
Make indentations with a fork and cut them in 1 and 1/2 cm big pieces.
Now bring salt water to a boil and cook the little gnocchi in batches. They will be ready, when they swim on top.
Remove them with a slotted spoon and put aside.
They are now ready to be bathed in your favourite sauce, tomato sauce, cream sauce, gravy, just butter and herbs and so much more.
Today I will make a creamy Hubbard Squash sauce for them.
The sauce is so easy, you will not believe it.
Preheat the oven to 375 and cut a Hubbard squash in half, removing the seeds. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until soft. Remove the flesh with a spoon.
Put in a little pot with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg, add the cream and bring to a rolling boil.Remove from the heat and press through a sieve, so the sauce is really fine.
Later on, add the gnocchi and reheat, garnish with a green herb, I use savoury today and voila, a wonderful simple dinner, great with a green salad.