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A thoughtful blend of original ‪‎photography‬, ‪haiku‬ and ‪calligraphy‬; a cathartic journey upon fluid images and simple words.

20 Feb 2010

A gift from the mountains

Few days ago I posted about my last catered dinner; it was quite an event with 30 people to serve and a 10 courses menu. Out of them I have already posted my recipe for Muhammara, a delicious middle-eastern dip based on roasted red peppers and walnuts; few minutes ago Rachel from A Scot in London asked me about the chestnut gnocchi. They were in effect one of the most popular course of the whole meal, many of the guest were just telling me "If you are going to eat any of the leftovers, just make yourself a dish of gnocchi!". To tell you the truth, we were tasting them while they were sautéed with the orange butter and I quite loved them too!
So here I give you the simple recipe to prepare these gnocchi at home.

Chestnut Gnocchi

Ingredients (makes 1kg of gnocchi):

  • 700g floury potatoes;
  • 200g all purpose flour;
  • 100g chestnut flour;
  • 1 large egg;
  • Salt.

Cut the potatoes in chunks of roughly the same size and boil them into salted water. When cooked, drain the potatoes and let them cool down a bit. You will need to process them while they are still warm; so when cold enough to handle, peel them and pass them through a potato ricer or a food mill into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt, the two flours and the egg mixing the whole together using a spoon or your hands. Let the dough rest for a couple of hours so the flour gets properly hydrated.
When ready to shape your gnocchi, bring a big pot of salted water to a boil, cut little chunks of dough and flouring your hands and the working surface, shape them into sausages (their thickness will determine the size of your gnocchi).
The dough usually comes pretty soft so the gnocchi won’t keep their shape if cut and left on a tray so you will need to blanch them right after being cut. To do so, hold one of the sausages in your hand over the pot with the boiling water and cut little pieces of it using a scissor letting them drop into the water (to keep the scissor from sticking to the dough, dip its tip into the hot water before cutting each gnocco).
Gnocchi need only few minutes to cook; when they start floating on top of the water they are practically ready. Using a slotted spoon, drain them into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking and then let them drain properly before transferring into a tray or another bowl while you keep on cooking the rest.
When all the dough is over and the gnocchi are nice and at room temperature you can either store them in your fridge or sauté them in you sauce; they will warm up and become nice and fluffy.
To try the dish I made for my dinner, you will need to make some orange butter mixing soft butter with fresh orange zest in the proportion of 2 big oranges per 250gr of butter, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Let the butter melt on a pan, sauté your gnocchi into it and serve them with shaves of hard pecorino cheese on top. Really delish!

Do you have any other recipe that you have read mentioned in my post and would like posted? Let me know.


  1. Those sound heavenly! Yum:)

  2. @onlinepastrychef They were quite delicious indeed. I served them with some swiss chard so to have a bit of balancing bitterness, great!

  3. Hmmm, I have gram flour on the brain. I wonder if these would be nice with gram flour instead of chestnut? They would have a very different taste, obviously.

  4. @sarah It might work actually, I would expect the dough to be drier though, you can always adjust the texture with some water or stock. Good idea :)

  5. Chestnut gnocchi sound amazing, I wish I knew where to buy chestnut flour in London...

  6. @Sarah I guess they carry it in health-food store since it is a gluten free flour. Making a rapid search on-line I found this Italian importer that is based in London or even this one . Let me know if you find it :)

  7. Fantastic Alex! I will definitely give them a try - I adore gnocchi and have made them with potatoes or with ricotta, but not chestnut flour yet... Chestnut gnocchi have been on my list for a while now... You are inspiring me to make these very SOON! Great post :-)

  8. Oh thanks for this recipe, Alessio. I always have a small bag of chestnut flour in my fridge - I fell in love with it when we lived in Italy - and I'm always on the lookout for fabulous ways to use it (so far I only have my cake recipe and that's it!). I have always wanted to make gnocchi - I never have - and this will be a great way to start!

  9. Alessio! This sounds divine. There's nothing better than home made gnocchi, but I must admit, I've never had chestnut gnocchi. B and I make gnocchi a lot, so next time I'm making this recipe. Exciting!