One of the things I miss most about my mum’s home cooking when I’m at university is her roast potatoes. That moment of biting into a ridiculously hot spud to hear the crunch of the exterior, knowing full well that you are going to strip the roof of your mouth bare. The immediate carb-induced comfort you feel as the crispy outside gives way to the soul-saving fluffiness within. Hand me a plateful of roasties with a jug of gravy (granules, of course) and I’m a happy man.
University terms can then feel like torture. Possessing a gyp just about the right size for a Sylvanian Family does not allow room for an oven, a prerequisite for feeding my roast potato addiction. Luckily, I have recently (re)discovered a way to bypass this obstacle: I was flicking through one of my many Nigella cookbooks, and I happened upon her ‘Rapid Roastini,’ a dish of fried gnocchi that resemble toytown roasties. I had seen the recipe years ago, but I guess I never made it because something in my mind told me that pre-made potato gnocchi would not get desirably crisp in the pan.
How I ate my words. Frying a packet of gnocchi is now my go-to standby. Keep those olde English vibes by serving them with a piece of fried meat and you have a simple take on a roast dinner ( I’m thinking steak, pork chop, lamb cutlets, etc.). But these bad boys can be taken down all sorts of paths. Eat the gnocchi in your mind in situ – mix in some pesto for that Italian flourish. My most recent discovery is how wonderful these are with mushroom stroganoff – the creamy sauce begins to be absorbed by the gnocchi, who take in some of the liquid whilst retaining their outside bite. All I can think right now is how good these would be in a carbonara-style sauce. Basically, these are great when you need carbs and you need them fast. A quick side-dish or supper in themselves, they take you back to family Sunday dinners of yore, only via the Italian route, which is, naturalmente, a lot more scenic.
- 1 packet of pre-made potato gnocchi (you’ll find them in the supermarket with the fresh pasta)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan (make sure the pan is large, as you want an even layer of gnocchi for maximum crispiness).
2. Once the pan is hot, place the gnocchi in the pan and let fry for 5 minutes on one side. Be patient – do not touch them, for if you meddle too much, they won’t develop the necessary crunch!
3. Flip the gnocchi over and fry for a further 5 minutes. Serve.