Umami fried gnocchi with capers, olives and mushrooms

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Ok, it’s not as healthy as boiled gnocchi, but when fried you get that holy grail of crispy on the outside and fluffy within…covered with this seriously savoury sauce, my life-long gnocchi agnostic husband was won over (he’d been hoping I’d just bake the potatoes and stop there). Baking the potatoes might seem like a hassle, but it’s a tip from my brother-in-law that changed my gnocchi from hit-or-miss sludgy to firm and bouncy. Once they’re baked it takes 10 minutes to roll the gnocchi out, so you could bake and roll them the night before and then congratulate yourself on setting up an extremely quick and satisfying after-work dinner (that’s why I’ve categorised this in two places, under an hour and over).

Serves 4

Ingredients
For the gnocchi:
500g baking potatoes
125g plain flour

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons green olives
1 tablespoon capers
150g chestnut mushrooms
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 anchovies
3 tablespoons marinated artichokes from a jar
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C / gas 5. Rub the baking potatoes in oil and bake for 30 minutes, turn over and bake for another 20 or until soft. While they’re hot (wear rubber gloves to protect your hands) peel off the skins and mash thoroughly. Stir in the plain flour to make a dough.

Take a bit of dough a bit bigger than a tennis ball and roll it out on a floured work surface until it’s about 1cm diameter. Squash it slightly all the way along with the tines of a fork, then cut it into pieces about 3cm long. Move them to a floured baking tray to get them out the way. Repeat with the rest of the potato dough. Put the gnocchi in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Crush the garlic cloves and anchovies. Rinse the capers and olives, drain well then chop them finely. Halve the artichoke pieces, and slice the mushrooms.

Put a small knob of butter into two frying pans, and drizzle a little refined olive oil over. Set one over a medium high heat, and when the butter’s foaming tip in the mushrooms. Crack over lots of black pepper and fry them until golden brown, about 7 minutes, then turn the heat up under the second frying pan to melt the butter. When it’s hot, place in the gnocchi (you might need to do them in batches but don’t worry, the sauce will keep warm) and cook them for 3 – 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and crisp.

Turn down the heat under the mushrooms and add the garlic. Keep stirring it for a minute or so to stop it burning, then add in the anchovies, capers and olives. Stir for a minute more (keep an eye on the gnocchi, you might need to turn them by now), then add the artichokes just to warm up. Turn the heat off and stir through the lemon juice and parsley.

Tip the sauce over the gnocchi in the other frying pan, very gently stir to coat all the potato, then divide onto plates. Drizzle over a slug of extra virgin olive oil and serve.

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