On a hot day one of the last things you’ll want to do is spend hours at the stove in the midday sun. So why not plan ahead? Victoria’s recipe can be made the night before, when the weather’s cooler, and the rest can be rustled up in 20 minutes just before you’re set to eat.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a garden to dine in al fresco. If you, like me, live in a flat with no outdoor space, this time of year can see you wasting hours perusing your dream houses with gardens on Zoopla, while fanning your hot face with brochures from the local estate agent’s. Forget moving house – who needs all that packing and unpacking in all this heat? Instead, why not bring a little sunshine to your table with a summery weekend lunch with friends. You can always walk it off in the local park afterwards to make the most of the hot weather.
All cooking is hot work in this weather, so instead of spending hours at the stove in the midday sun, this recipe can be made the night before, once the weather cools down a bit, and the rest can be rustled up in 20 minutes with a glass of cold Prosecco in hand.
People assume that gnocchi is labour intensive, but it’s actually a fairly simple dish to rustle up. The most important thing with gnocchi, is to get rid of as much moisture as possible. Most recipes tell you to boil the potatoes/root vegetables with their skins on, but I prefer to bake them. Not only does this get rid of more moisture, but you can also leave them in the oven unattended, while you skip off to do other things.
Rolling and cutting the beetroot and potato dough is the only fiddly part of the whole process, but I actually find it quite satisfying. Once the dumplings are made, the rest is all about minimal chopping for maximum summery flavours.
Gluten Free Golden Beetroot Gnocchi With Pea, Bacon, Tomato & Mint
For the beetroot gnocchi
500g golden beetroots
500g baking potatoes
50g rice flour, plus extra for dusting
35g tapioca flour
1 small egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
For the sauce
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
8 rashers of smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 pint of chicken stock
500g frozen peas
A large bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
9 medium tomatoes
Salt and pepper
To make the gnocchi
Bake the potatoes and beetroots in the oven for about an hour to an hour and a half, until tender. Cut the spuds and beets in half to allow the steam to escape and then spoon out the flesh. Push the scooped out flesh through a ricer or push it through a sieve into a bowl and leave to cool slightly. Add the flours, salt and pepper, mixing them together with a butter knife to avoid overworking the flour and making the gnocchi doughy. Finally, add the beaten egg and mix until you have a ball of dough - you may not need to use all the egg. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
Cut the potato dough in half, sprinkle the table or work surface (if your’s is big enough) with flour and roll the dough into two long sausages. Cut each sausage into 30 pieces - so you end up with 60 gnocchi dumplings. Press the back of a fork lightly into each dumpling to make the traditional line marks on them and drop them into a saucepan of boiling, salty water in batches. Once the gnocchi rise to the surface, they are done, so scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl of cold water and drain. Next, coat a large tupperware tub with olive oil and place the cold gnocchi in the tub, tossing them in oil, pop the lid on and stick them in the fridge until needed.
Once you’re ready to serve your gnocchi, heat the butter in a large, non-stick frying pan, add the gnocchi and cook until golden brown on both sides.
For the sauce
Sauté the onions in olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and bacon and stir until the bacon has browned. Add the chicken stock and simmer. In the meantime, score the tops of the tomatoes and plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes from the water and peel – their skins should slide off very easily. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop the tomato flesh and set aside for later. Add the peas to the pan and after a few minutes chuck in the mint. Season generously and leave over a low heat while you pan fry the gnocchi. Just before you’re ready to serve, stir the tomatoes into the sauce, so they are just warm and slightly soften.
For more easy summertime recipes visit Great British Chefs collection. Have you ever tried making gnocchi at home? What ae some of your favourite sauces for it? Let us know here or over on Great British Chefs Facebook page.