Bert has eaten packet gnocchi and loved it, so I thought this was a sure-fire win, especially since it involved him rolling it out like play-doh.
We went round the table listing our favourite puddings (Bert’s: the icecreams that come with a flake in and Revels – all my time making apple pies and crumbles and cakes wasn’t wasted, then.) He ate two gnocchi and looked perturbed, then concerned, then indignant.
‘Let’s play a new game,’ he said. ‘This time the things we don’t like.’
‘Okay, what’s on your list?’
‘Number one,’ [points at plate] ‘this!’
As you can see, it was no trouble at all to make so that was absolutely fine with me.
3 baking potatoes (about 1 kg)
3 teaspoons sea salt
150g 00 or plain flour
Salt and pepper to season
1 beaten egg
1 carrot, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 sausages, sliced into bite sized pieces
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 dessert spoon red pesto
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 head broccoli florets
Put the oven on to 200. Get the potatoes wet under a running tap and sprinkle with salt. Bake for around an hour, till soft. Leave to cool slightly.
Scoop out the potato and push through a potato ricer or a sieve and tip onto a board. Add the flour and seasoning. Make a well in the centre, add the egg, and mix it all together with your hands until you have a soft dough (don’t overwork it). It’s important you do this bit while the potatoes are still warm so the gnocchi are tender.
Heat the oil in a sauce pan and gently fry the grated carrot until starting to melt into the oil. Add the sausages and brown. Then add the tomatoes and pesto and vinegar, and cook for around 15 minutes. When there’s five minutes to go steam or boil your broccoli, either stirring it in at the end, or keeping it as a side dish if you have a five-year-old in the house who likes strict food type ghettos.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and reduce to a fast simmer. Roll the gnocchi dough out into sausages about the width of your thumb (five-year-olds are useful helpers at this point), cut into small pieces and drop into the water. They’re cooked when they rise to the surface – fish them out with a slotted spoon and blot on kitchen paper. Serve with the sausage sauce (with or without broccoli) and cheese.