Having had a tough week at the day job - I actually managed to leave work on Thursday evening on time and discovered to my delight that it was still actually daylight. Quickening the pace to get home in good time I passed one of the many many Turkish supermarkets on the way home and spied some really fresh Basil. I quickly picked up two bunches of the green stuff up, paid and carried on power walking home in anticipation of closing the door behind me and spending some quality time in my kitchen - alone !
In my opinion there is only one thing that you can do with the freshest basil and that is to make Pesto. It might be basic, simple and really quick to make but it in my opinion its one of the best tastes in the world. Having decided that pesto was the only option the next conundrum was what to have with it. After looking in the pantry and cupboards to see what was in, I very quickly decided against pasta and went for making the fluffy clouds of potato joy - Gnocchi.
Couple of floury potatoes
1 large egg, beaten
250g flour, plus extra for dusting
Couple of bunches of Basil
Handful of pine nuts
Couple of cloves of garlic
Juice of half a lemon
Extra Virgin Oil
Finely grated Parmesan
Maldon Salt and cracked black pepper
Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Buffalo mozzarella, if feeling decedent after payday
Making Pesto always surprises me, purely because it takes no time at all to make and is so easy to make. Fist pick all the leaves of the bunches of the Basil into a food processor. then gently dry fry your pine nuts in a frying pan for a few moments until they change to a golden brown color. Once the pine nuts have changed color drop them in to the food processor as well. Add the couple of crushed cloves of garlic, Salt, pepper and the juice of half a lemon and start blitzing, once the food processor is blitzing, slowly pour in the olive oil so that it gently mixes together with the other ingredients. After a few minutes the ingredients will have combined - season to taste if it needs it.
Boil the unpeeled potatoes in a large pan of water until tender. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, remove the potato skins.Put through a potato Ricer or Mash if you haven't got one
Add the beaten egg, plenty of salt and pepper and the flour and mix to form a dough. Then turn out on to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes.
Put a pan of salted water on to boil. Cut the dough into smaller bits and roll out each piece to 2cm 'sausages'. Cut the rolled 'sausages' at inch and a half or 2cm intervals and cook the gnocchi in the boiling water, its best done in batches, for 3-4 minutes, until the potato dumplings have risen to the surface. Then remove with a slotted spoon Refresh in cold water and drain well - I place mine on kitchen towel to drain fully.
Chop a few sun dried tomatoes and throw them in to the pan with the gnocchi, I also add a handful of rocket leaves in for good measure. If I'm feeling decedent after pay day I tear some Buffalo mozzarella in too. Then stir in a couple of spoons of the pesto making sure that all the gnocchi is covered and serve with plenty of grated Parmesan, and cracked black pepper.
Some what easy and simple but a plate of great flavors and comfort for a Thursday evening supper for one.