Serves 6

I’ve always found myself deterred from making gnocchi by the idea that you need ‘special’ potatoes. However, with a weedy infestation of kipflers in my potato patch, gnocchi seemed worth a try and they worked beautifully! The amount of flour needed will vary, but start with the lower amount and carefully add more if required — the dough should feel soft but not sticky. A sturdy metal potato ricer is a useful investment if you plan on making this recipe. 

What you’ll need

  • 2 medium eggplant, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
  • 1kg ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped,
    juices retained
  • ⅓ cup basil leaves, torn
  • extra basil leaves, to serve
  • finely grated parmesan, to serve
  • potato gnocchi
  • 500g kipfler potatoes, scrubbed
  • ⅓ cup 00 plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1 egg yolk

Step by step

Preheat oven to 175°C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.

Place eggplant, oil and sea salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Spread eggplant over prepared trays. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender and golden.

Place butter and garlic in a large saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and juices, basil, eggplant and a generous pinch of sea salt. Cook for 35–40 minutes or until ragu is thick. Season to taste. Transfer 2 cups of ragu to a large frying pan. Keep remaining ragu warm until required.

Meanwhile, to make gnocchi, cook potatoes in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 20–25 minutes or until very soft but not crumbling. Drain, then immediately pass through a potato ricer into a medium bowl.

Make a well in centre of potato. Add flour, salt and nutmeg, and stir until well combined. Add egg yolk and mix until well combined. If dough is too sticky, gradually add more flour, a tablespoon
at a time. Knead dough until a soft ball forms (do no overwork or gnocchi will be tough). Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disc.

Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each dough portion into a 3cm-diameter log and cut into 2cm pieces. Line a tray with a clean tea towel and lightly dust with extra flour. Place gnocchi on prepared tray.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil (the water should be so salty that it tastes like the sea). Add 6–8 gnocchi and cook for 2–3 minutes or until they rise to surface (don’t let water boil too vigorously or gnocchi will break apart). Use a slotted spoon to drain gnocchi and transfer to frying pan with ragu. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.

Toss gnocchi in ragu until well coated. Stir over a medium heat for 1 minute or until heated through. Spoon gnocchi among plates. Top with remaining ragu and extra basil. Serve with parmesan. >