I'm becoming so used to steaming my potatoes now I set to work before even reading Fanny's instruction. It really does make such a difference to the finished mash. I've got some lovely red skinned potatoes which I am sure are neither from Peru, America nor Italy, but I'm hopeful they will do the trick. Fanny despairs of potatoes sold in polythene bags, oops, these were. She tells me to immediately rip open the bag as soon as I am home to avoid them being sweaty, flabby and starting to rot. Worry not Fanny, they seem fine. Fanny tells me if they are not I can take them back to the store for my money back. Can you imagine if I did and said 'Fanny told me my rights'? Once they are steamed, it's back out with the sieve to get them lovely and fluffy before adding egg yolks, butter, seasoning and some flour. Fanny also suggest adding a grating of fresh nutmeg, which I love. Maybe it's partly due to the fact that I love using my teeny weeny tiny nutmeg grater too. Just maybe.
Fanny instructs me to beat the mixture together and work it almost to a dough. It comes together really well actually, must be the lovely yolks. I do start off following Fanny to the letter when she tells me to weigh out 1/2 oz pieces of the mixture and to roll them into balls, but I eventually just do it by eye. Just as easy really, and who wants perfectly sized Gnocchi anyway? 'Naughtie' me...
The balls need to be flattened slightly, indented with a fork and flung into plenty of salted simmering water. Fanny emphasises of course that they should be removed from the water AS SOON as they rise to the surface, so I am glad I have my heat resistant dish ready buttered and waiting. This was Fanny's next instruction - you see I am not that 'naughtie' really.
The little Gnocchis are layered up in the dish with small spots of butter and grated cheese. Fanny suggests her favourites Gruyère or Emmenthal - but I have neither so instead use Parmesan. I realise I am going to sound JUST like Fanny here, but please do not write in to tell me that Parmesan is NOT vegetarian, I know... I prefer to use it but, as Fanny might've said direct to camera with a slightly ruffled nose, if you are a vege-terrorist then please just substitute for your approved cheese of choice. Simple. Once all the layers are done, it's into the oven for half an hour to bake. The finished dish looks lovely, and tastes smashing too. The Gnocchis themselves are very light and puffy, some are crispy, some still soft. And all very cheesy. Whoever brought the potato to this country and in whatever year, and also to Italy of course, I for one am grateful.