I have to admit, I created this dish just to use some baby eggplants I picked up at the local vegetable market.
At the market I am like a kid in a candy store. Especially when I can source anything specialty or miniature (in Greece, in summer all local veggies are cheap.) The eggplants (which ironically are the size of small eggs) are sweet and bursting with flavour. I needed a dish that could showcase and complement these flavours, enhancing the eggplant without overpowering. Potato gnocchi fit those criteria. Earthy and robust, yet subtle and adaptable.
What you need: (Vegetables)
- 1 head of garlic
- 5-6 baby eggplant (in a pinch you could use one regular size, cut into thin wedges)
- 1 bunch green onions cut into 2″ pieces
- 15-20 cherry tomatos
- 6-7 small zucchini
- 1 red pepper cut into 1″ strips
- Olive oil
- 4-5 slices of prosciutto (or smoked bacon)
- Salt and pepper to taste
How it’s done:
- Poke each of the whole eggplants with a fork.
- Leaving the whole head of garlic intact, cut off the top of the head to allow oil to penetrate.
- Trim off the ends of the zucchini.
- Place all the vegetables in a roasting pan and coat well with olive oil.
- Chop up the prosciutto and sprinkle on top.
- Roast in a 200C or 400F oven until the garlic is soft and the vegetables are done.
- Set aside, reserving the oil.
What you need: (Gnocchi)
- 500g package of tomato sauce
- 1 kilo of waxy potatoes (yukon gold or red)
- Potato ricer
- 2 cups + flour (it will depend on the moisture levels of your potatoes)
- Olive oil from roasted vegetables
- Roasted garlic (flesh squeezed out & skins discarded)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup of freshly grated romano or parmesan cheese
How it’s done:
- While roasting your vegetables peel the potatoes and boil until soft. When done let cool.
- When potatoes are cool enough to handle, run them through your ricer, placing in a large mixing bowl.
- By now veggies should be done. Add the roasting oil, garlic and beaten eggs to the riced potatoes and give the mixture a quick stir
- Slowly add the flour until you have a soft and delicate dough (do not overwork the dough.)
- Pinch off a fist sized piece and roll out on a floured work surface.
- You want to end up with a piece about 1″ thick and long and skinny like a piece of doweling.
- Take and cut the long piece into 1″ pieces, effectively making small dumplings.
- Place on a floured cookie sheet, continuing until all the dough has been made into little gnocchi.
- Boil a large pot of salted water.
- In a small saucepan heat the tomato product.
- So to actually cook the gnocchi you need to have 4 things ready: boiling water, heated tomato sauce, a large bowl and a slotted spoon.
- Depending on the size of your pot of water you made need to do multiple batches. I usually cook my gnocchi in two batches.
- Place half of your gnocchi in the hot water and give a quick stir.
- When the gnocchi start to float that is the indicator that they are done (this only takes about 2 mins.) Take your spoon and remove them, placing them in your bowl.
- When your first batch is done take half of your tomato sauce and cover the finished gnocchi.
- Cook all your gnocchi in this way. When finished you should have all your gnocchi resting in a light tomato sauce.
- Now gently add your vegetables and serve with freshly grated cheese.
Yes this looks time consuming and labor intensive, but I promise that it is worth the trouble. Enjoy.