Potato Gnocchi & Nanny’s Sauce

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Mum with Joshua and Lara 2004

It was April and we had invited Joshua’s friends to his 4th birthday party in our garden. We had bought Josh a Tikes climbing frame and slide.

Before the guests arrived, Mum played with Josh and Lara in the garden, whilst Matt and I finished making the sandwiches. A short time had past and Lara toddled into the kitchen, tugged on my skirt and gurgled, “Look, stuck, look, stuck.” “Matt, go and help Josh get off the slide, please.” I said. Two seconds later, Josh ran in shouting, “Mummy, come outside, I think Nanny’s stuck!”

As we stepped out onto the patio, we could see Mum upside down on her stomach, making her way down the slide. She couldn’t move. Suffice to say, it was only after a glass of red wine that she began to regain her dignity and I could finally stop laughing! This was the children’s favourite after school snack Mum would make for them.

Mum with Joshua and Lara 2014
Potato Gnocchi & Nanny’s Sauce

Nanny’s Sauce

Serves 4
4 tbsp olive oil * 1 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs (whatever is to hand), preferably basil * 1 garlic clove, minced * 1 onion, very finely chopped * 395g (14 floz) carton of passata or chopped tomatoes * 1 cube of chicken stock cube * 2-3 tbsp water * a little pepper

Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the herbs, garlic and onion until soft, but do not let them burn. Add the tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Use a potato masher to break the tomatoes, onions and garlic into a pulp, releasing the flavours. Now, finely crumble the stock cube into the tomato mixture and add the water.

Again use the potato masher just to break up bits of the stock cube. Add a little pepper. Simmer gently for 10 minutes until the mixture has reduced into a smooth liquid. You may need to add a little more water to keep it smooth and moist. Add to pasta or to the gnocchi below with a sprinkle of cheese.

Potato Gnocchi

680g (1½ lb) potatoes * salt & pepper * 225g (8oz) flour * 1 egg * 15g (½oz) butter * 85g (3oz) grated Parmesan cheese

Boil the potatoes in salted water for 12 minutes until just tender. Sieve and season. Blend with the flour, egg and butter. Form into balls and cook in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a warmed serving dish. Pour on Nanny’s sauce then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

There are more recipes in the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.