Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Polenta Gnocchi - And my new cook book.

I am often looking for new and different foods to replace traditional pasta. Obviously, for us free from Fodmap people there are gluten and wheat free pastas, and whilst these are perfectly good and tasty, sometimes they can be lacking in the authenticity department. A limited variety of shapes, which I think can be important as each different pasta is a better carrier for different types of sauce, and almost certainly never the light fresh taste of egg pasta.

I mentioned a couple of posts ago my wonderful #twittersecretsanta present The International Cookery Book and it hasn't taken me long to start noting down my must try recipes for Fodmap adaptation.

I have always loved those little fluffy balls of Gnocchi, literally translated as "lumps", perfect description of what will follow. In the past I have had the variants made with semolina, flour and potato. Until now I hadn't thought that Gnocchi was on my Fodmap menu, but it seems it can be with my little tweaks. One of the recipes that caught my eye in my new cook book was for such delights, semolina based Gnocchi.

The original recipe:

Gnocchi (Italy)
Bring a pint of milk to the boil, sprinkle in five ounces of semolina, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook slowly for twenty minutes. Thicken with an egg yolk off the heat, and spread out on a plate half an inch thick. When cold cut into any desired shapes, and use for garnishing soup, or arrange the pieces in a greased dish, sprinkle them with melted butter or margarine and grated cheese, and brown quickly in the oven.

This gave me the perfect inspiration to attempt a Gnocchi alternative that was Fodmap friendly, and I really enjoyed the results. Lurking in my cupboard I had fine Polenta which I thought would be the perfect swap for the semolina in the original recipe. Using the Polenta with the milk base, similar to the recipe above, gives this Gnocchi a smooth, sweet and comforting taste, perfect as a carrier for many Italian sauces, soups, or simply grilling with cheese as a snack on their own.


850ml Lactofree Milk (both semi-skimmed and whole work well)
5oz Fine Polenta

Bring the milk to a slow boil.
Sprinkle in the Polenta, stirring continuously with a whisk to avoid lumps and sticking.
Cook slowly for 20 minutes over a low-medium heat, stirring continuously.
    If the Polenta becomes too think or lumpy, add a little more milk whilst stirring. Don't be too
    precious about this, remember Gnocchi translates as "lumps".
Pour into shallow, small baking tray.
Leave to cool.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit/gas mark 4
Once cool, using a spoon shape into oval Gnocchi shaped balls or any shape that takes your hearts' desire.
Place on a baking tray, bake for 25 minutes until slightly golden and a little crispy on top.

Serve as you like it.

I love with my Beef Ragu or a Good Homemade Tomato Sauce.

Adding different ingredients such as Basil, Thyme or Parmesan for a delicate flavour, can add a little something to a special meal too.