A quick and tasty mid-week veggie supper
Ruby Tandoh is known for her fuss-free, delicious recipes like this dish of gnocchi with harissa butter and broccoli. Plus, you've got a chance to win a copy of her latest book, Cook As You Are
Ruby Tandoh was a GBBO finalist in 2013 and has been elbow deep in the mixing bowl ever since. Her latest book is for real home cooks with recipes based around store cupboard staples, leftovers, and even the microwave. Here’s one of our faves from the book…
I love gnocchi. These chewy, portly little dumplings have saved me on many a lazy evening when I’ve arrived home knackered and hungry, in need of something comforting, filling and quick. In this recipe, the spicy, buttery harissa coats the gnocchi and soaks into the broccoli florets, bringing a fiery kick to this easy midweek meal.
Harissa is easy to get in most decent-sized supermarkets: you should find it somewhere near the dried herbs and spices, with the other cooking pastes, spice mixes and sauces. It’s also great in tagines, with pasta, in soups or rubbed over the skin of a chicken before you roast it.
In this recipe, pan-frying gives a crispier finish to the gnocchi and a buttery, caramelised layer underneath, but roasting is ideal if you just want a more hands-off approach. Roasting is also handy if you want to scale up the quantities, as even a two-person serving tends to fill a frying pan. With that in mind, I’ve written two versions of the recipe below: one using the roasting-tin method and one for the stove top.
Gnocchi with Harissa Butter and Broccoli (from Cook As You Are)
Serves: 2 – vegetarian (vegan option)
Ready in: less than 30 minutes (stove-top method) or less than an hour (oven method)
- 25g walnuts, roughly chopped
- Salt, to taste
- 1 small broccoli head
- 500g gnocchi
- 30g salted or unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons harissa, or to taste
The stove-top method:
First, toast the nuts in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat, stirring regularly. After a few minutes, they should begin to smell lightly toasted and nutty. Remove from the heat and transfer to a little bowl.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. While the water heats, prepare the broccoli: break the head into medium florets then trim and peel the stalk before cutting it into ½ cm rounds. Add the broccoli and gnocchi to the now-boiling water, reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain well, letting the gnocchi and veg steam dry in whatever you’ve used to drain them for a couple of minutes (this will help them caramelise in the pan).
Melt the butter in your frying pan over a medium-high heat then add the harissa and let it sizzle for a few seconds until your mouth begins to water. Add the gnocchi and broccoli to the pan, placing the florets bushy
The roasting-tin method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4 and get out an appropriate-sized roasting tin (a 15 × 20cm tin will be big enough for a 2-person serving).
Toast the nuts in the roasting tin for 5–8 minutes, until fragrant. Use your eyes (and/or nose) to monitor how deeply they’ve toasted: if they burn, they’ll be really bitter. Once they’re ready, remove from the oven, tip into a little bowl and set to one side.
Boil a full kettle. Tip the gnocchi into a large heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Leave the gnocchi to sit for 2 minutes, then drain. To prepare the broccoli, break the head into medium florets. Trim and peel the stalk, then slice into ½cm rounds.
Chuck the butter in the roasting tin and melt in the oven for a couple of minutes. Stir in the harissa, then tip in the gnocchi and broccoli. Season with a little salt, mix everything well and roast for 25 minutes. Scatter over the toasted walnuts when you serve it.
Variations and substitutions:
If you don’t have walnuts, almonds also work well for adding crunch, as do pine nuts or egusi. They can also be left out entirely.
You can use sweet potato or cauliflower gnocchi in place of the potato gnocchi if you fancy a change: you can get them in some larger supermarkets, usually in the chilled aisles. Gluten-free gnocchi can also be found in larger supermarkets.
At a pinch, you can swap the harissa for two tablespoons red pesto and a pinch of chilli flakes or powder. It’ll be a very different dish, but still a quick and easy weeknight gnocchi idea.
You can use olive oil or a vegan butter in place of the butter here – it won’t be quite as rich as the butter, but it’ll still help the gnocchi crisp and caramelise.