I came up with this idea while on my exercise bike, feeling quite ravenous. I knew I wanted to eat something substantial, but nutritious and if possible under 500 calories.
The gnocchi is home made, but you could use shop bought if you prefer. I find home made is much lighter in texture and more digestible though, and now I’ve made my own, I don’t think I’d shop buy again. The butternut squash I use is frozen – life is too short to peel butternut squash. I’ve done it. Took me about 3 days and I lost 3 fingers in the process. Ok, untrue. But really, the frozen stuff is perfectly acceptable – to me at least.
What to use
Baked potatoes – one large one per person
20g plain or pasta flour per person
(you will also need some flour to roll out the gnocchi onto)
free range egg yolk – usually one egg yolk for 4 potatoes so you may need just half if cooking for one or two. My advice would be make more gnocchi than you need, and freeze it or eat over several days.
Butternut squash – 100g per person
Cherry tomato pesto – see above
Toasted almonds – 25g per person
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil leaves to garnish
How to use it
You’ll need the cherry tomato pesto already made – actually even if it’s not, that’s not an issue because it takes seconds to make. See recipe here.
The one thing you will need already is the baked potatoes for the gnocchi. You need to bake them ideally the day before. Baking not boiling is key as you want dry potatoes not soggy ones. Cut the baked potatoes in half and scoop the flesh out of the potato skin into a bowl. Mash / break up with a fork. Add the flour and mix. Make a well, then add the egg yolk. Mix into a dough. Leave for a few minutes. Take the dough and put onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into four, then roll out each of the four pieces into a roll. Then cut the roll into your gnocchi pieces. That’s it. Amazing, eh?
Put your butternut squash in the oven, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt if you use salt in cooking.
After 25 minutes, ie 5 minutes before the squash is due to be done, put on a large pan of boiling water. When the water is at a rolling boil, put the gnocchi in the water. They take a really short time to cook – about a minute if that. When they bob to the surface they are done. As they bob up, remove with a slotted spoon and put in a colander.
When they’re all done, put them into your eating bowl, put the squash on top, and drizzle the pesto all over it. You can add natural yoghurt, parsley and some toasted almonds for a bit of added texture and interest.
Mmm rating: mm mm mm
Cost per person: £2.50
Calories: under 500
What to listen to: this is mellow food and suits mellow music so I recommend Lenny Kravitz – All I Ever Wanted
What to watch: An episode of Friends – The one with the ‘cuffs as it features pasta