The pasta menu is prime real estate at Guy Grossi’s restaurant Garum. So much so that the Roman-inspired restaurant, which opened in Perth last year, has only just added a gnocchi dish to the selection.

Gnocchi not only conjures childhood memories for Grossi, it’s a comfort dish that relies on selecting good potatoes from the start – valuable advice handed down to him by his mother.

“The trick is that you have to get a good waxy potato, something that’s got a bit of weight to it,” says Grossi. “Not a powdery potato because they fall apart and then you have to add too much flour to them to bring it together, and then you’ll turn your gnocchi into rubber bullets.”

Spunta and Royal Blue potatoes are top of Grossi’s list for this purpose. He recommends boiling them in their skin and roasting them in the oven for a few minutes to dry before peeling.

“Then you go ‘Ouch, ouch, ouch’ and burn your hands because you need to make the gnocchi while it’s nice and hot and then you put it through the potato ricer,” he says. “Add just enough flour, a little nutmeg and salt to bring it all together and off you go.”


Garum’s Gnocchi Passata
Serves 6-8


Ingredients for the passata:
100ml of olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves
12 fresh basil leaves
1.5L passata (fresh tomato puree)
Salt and pepper
Pecorino romano (cheese)


Ingredients for the gnocchi:
2.4kg desiree potatoes
3 egg yolks
500g plain flour
Salt
Grated nutmeg

Method:

Heat a large pot with the olive oil and sweat off the onions and garlic until softened.

Add the bay leaves and basil, and mix in the tomato passata. Season with salt and pepper and cook on a low to moderate heat for about 35 minutes until the consistency of sauce. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Place the unpeeled potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and turn down heat so water is simmering. Cook potatoes until you are able to easily skewer them.

Once cooked, remove potatoes from water and briefly roast in hot oven until dry. Peel off skins. Pass potatoes through a ricer on to a work surface. Make a well in the centre of the potato mixture. Place egg yolks, grated nutmeg, salt and the flour into the well and gently mix the potatoes into the centre. Knead the potato mix until a firm dough has formed.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Flour the bench top and cut a piece of the dough and roll out into a thick roll, approximately one inch in diameter.

Cut the roll into ¾-inch-long pieces and roll each piece onto a gnocchi board. Cook gnocchi in boiling water. Remove with a sieve or slotted spoon once gnocchi has risen to the surface of the water.

Gently place gnocchi into the passata and toss through the sauce. Serve with a generous amount of grated pecorino romano.