I cannot throw away food. On the odd occasion that I have, my frugal, Filipina mother's voice has chimed into my head berating me for forgetting my roots, and making me feel guilty. It just feels weird to throw away perfectly edible leftovers, or food that is not long past its sell-by date... even if the meals that I turn it into are even weirder. For example 'Festive Fried Rice' which was all the Christmas lunch leftovers (sprouts, stuffing and all) thrown into a wok with rice, soy sauce and fresh coriander. It was a bit of a gamble, especially as I was making it for my inlaws, but it paid off and was a great way of using up all of the leftovers in one go. Or if I find a stray, rubbery parsnip at the bottom of the vegetable drawer I like to grate it into a pancake mix, and voila! Savoury pancakes for tea. I'll admit that it doesn't always go well... leftover baked bean pancakes made my two year old cry.
This leftovers recipe for gnocchi is yet to make my children cry, because it is an absolute treat of a meal, without any hint of sacrificial scrimping. My son's favourite thing on earth is a potato (chips, mash, chips, jacket potato, chips... "TAYTOS!") so we often have leftover mash in the fridge, and it is immensely satisfying transforming it into pretty, little dumplings just by mixing it with a bit of flour and egg, rolling it into a sausage and karate chopping it into lots of little pieces. It's an easy one to get the children involved with making, and the gnocchi take just a few minutes to cook, so a good option if you need to throw a meal together quickly. You can mash in other bits of leftover vegetable too - peas, carrots etc, and you can add herbs for extra flavour and colour.
Once cooked they just need coating in something - pesto, tomato sauce, cream cheese, bolognese... a grating of cheese, and they're ready to eat. Or you can turn them into a gnocchi bake by sprinkling them with breadcrumbs and cheese and popping them under the grill. In Italy we ate them with a simple tomato sauce, fresh basil and loads of parmesan. Mmm.
roughly 200g cold mashed potato
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
- Mix the mash, flour, salt and a little bit of egg at a time to make a firm dough - add more egg or flour to get the right consistency.
- Dust your work surface with flour, roll the mixture into 1cm thick sausages and cut them into 2cm long dumplings.
- Boil them in salted water - they will drop to the bottom at first, and are cooked when they rise to the top, which should only take about 3 minutes.
- Drain them thoroughly and combine with a sauce.