Homemade gnocchi with a tomato & thyme sauce, spinach and ricotta

Making gnocchi is really quick and easy, and most of all it's really cheap and delicious. Gnocchi is often served with cream based sauces, but I feel these are too heavy and the gnocchi's best accompaniment is a tomato based sauce. Serve in a good big bowl in the middle of the table with some crusty bread and let the whole family dig in. This is social food.

Ingredients

  • 500g of new loose potatoes (48p)
  • 3 shallots (44p)
  • 260g pack of spinach (£1.19)
  • 25g of fresh thyme (68p)
  • 500g of ricotta - x2 250g packs (£1.96)
  • 1 can of tomatoes (44p)

The cupboard staples...

Olive oil, salt, black pepper, 2 garlic cloves and 200g of plain flour.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to mysupermarket.co.uk, this trolley was cheapest at Tesco where it came to £5.19 - that's £1.29 per head!

Instructions

  • Best to make the gnocchi first. Peel and boil the potatoes as you would usually and then mash them. You really need to work those lumps out - we're looking for a smooth mash. Now place in a bowl, season well with salt and pepper and incorporate the flour into the mash - the mixture will begin to form into dough. Once you have a dough, turn out on to a dusted surface and knead for two minutes (not too rough), then break off the dough into three pieces and roll into three sausage shapes (about 3cm in thickness) and then cut the sausage shapes into pieces around 2cms in length. Set to one side for use later.
  • Now for the sauce. Get a pan on the heat, add a little drizzle of olive oil, finely dice the shallots and add to the pan. Gently cook the shallots for 2 minutes and then add 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds. Now add the tomatoes and half a cup of water. Season and simmer for 20 minutes to reduce the sauce down a little (just add a little water if the sauce is getting to thick). After 20 minutes add some finely chopped thyme and turn the heat right down, but make sure the sauce stays hot.
  • Now get a large pan of water up to the simmer and add the gnocchi. They will take about 2 minutes to cook and will rise to the surface when done. Remove and drain the gnocchi and place in a large bowl. Then add the ricotta (crumble between your fingers before you add), three good handfuls of spinach, and finally the hot tomato sauce (make sure the sauce is hot as you want to wilt the spinach leaves down a little) and give it all a good mix through.
  • Happy eating!

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