I’ve been eating Italian food for as long as I can remember. Out of everything that I found difficult when I became vegan, Italian food was certainly one of the things that I’ve missed the most. Pizza. Good Italian wood fired pizza.
I’ve had so many different types of gnocchi and I must say that there’s nothing quite like making it from scratch at home. I didn’t think that it would be possible to make it using gluten-free flour, as they all have different consistencies, textures and flavours. I do use an all purpose gluten-free flour for most of my dishes that call for it these days and find that it works every time.
I normally make gnocchi when I have left over mash but using sweet potato gives it more depth in flavour especially when you bake the potatoes whole first. The secret to a great smooth consistency is to blend it in a food processor. I used to do it by hand, but it turns out much better when blended. If you have children, this is a great dish to get them involved in.
- 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
- 2-3 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
- 400 grams cherry tomatoes
- 2 handfuls of rocket
- Salt for seasoning
- Pepper for seasoning
- ¼ - ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 clove of finely chopped garlic (optional)
- Fork the sweet potatoes to let out steam when baking. Place on a baking tray lined with unbleached baking paper. Turn the oven on 180 degrees and bake for around 40-50 minutes or until soft enough for mash.
- Peel the potato and place in blender with 2 cups of the flour and season. Blend until smooth. If the consistency of the dough is not sticking together well yet and has a doughy texture, add more flour and blend again.
- Place the cherry tomatoes seasoned with a little olive oil, salt and pepper in the oven using the same tray from the sweet potato and bake for about 5-10 minutes until they soften and ooze tomato juice.
- Sprinkle some flour on the bench and break a large handful of the dough and roll into a long 2-3cm thick log.
- With a knife, cut the gnocchi into 3cm pieces and set aside to cook. Continue rolling out and cutting the rest of the dough.
- Bring a big pot of water to the boil. Place around 20 pieces in and wait until they float to the top. They should cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute before they are done. Taste one and get a feel for how long each batch will take. (Note: As you are cooking the gnocchi, add a little olive oil to the batch that you have cooked and toss through. This will stop them from sticking to each other.)
- Once the tomatoes have roasted, squish them a little to make sure that all the seeds and tomato juice comes out when tossing them through the cooked gnocchi. Add the garlic and toss through again.
- Add the rocket on top and drizzle a little olive oil and season to taste.
It’s pretty simple right? Try experimenting with adding herbs or spices into the dough mix for some extra flavour. This would have to be one of my favourite Italian dishes. How about you? What Italian dish have you transformed into a vegan dish and is a staple in your home?