Gnocchi alla Norma

For years gnocchi always managed to frustrate me. I would end up making a mess all over the kitchen and they would disintegrate while boiling. Finally, after many attempts, I think i've nailed the measurements!

Gnocchi are at their best when paired with simple sauces; a standard tomato sauce, ragù or even basil pesto. This traditional sicilian Norma follows this mantra of simplicity. For best results use old floury potatoes, the less moisture they contain the better.

I always assumed that Norma was the name of the person who invented the dish, but allegedly it's attributed to an opera by composer Bellini, born in this sauces hometown of Catania. 

It's by definition a summery sauce, but I love warming myself up with a glass of red wine and Gnocchi alla Norma all year long!

Ingredients

Serves 4

For the Gnocchi

750g Potatoes

175g 00 flour

For the Sauce

2 Small Aubergines

500g Passata

2TBS Olive Oil

A Handful of Fresh Basil

Make your sauce first as it can wait for you while you make your Gnocchi.​

For the Sauce

  • Chop your aubergines into cubes.

  • OPTIONAL: Cover these cubes in rock salt and let them sweat out their moisture for 10-15 minutes.

  • Add the oil to the pan and once warm add the aubergine.

  • Cook on a low-mid temperature for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The aubergine should start to soften and take on a deep colour.

  • Once the aubergine has softened add the passata and leave to simmer on a low temperature until your gnocchi are complete.

For the Gnocchi

  • Either boil or steam the potatoes until a knife can slip through them easily. If you boil them you will have to contend with the excess moisture, by steaming them you will significantly cut down your prep time.

  • Remove the skins, being careful not to burn your hands and mash the potatoes.

  • Add the flour and work the mash quickly to try and create a soft dough.

  • Cut off a section, roll it out with your hands and cut out your gnocchi (about 1,5 cm). If you like you can leave them like this, shape them into a ball or roll them over the back of a fork to give them ridges.

  • Place the Gnocchi on a teatowel until you are ready to boil them. 

  • Gnocchi are cooked when they float to the surface, so remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to your sauce. 

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Before serving stir in the chopped basil​.