I eat tomatoes in some form most days. My perfect meal is a bowl of pasta with a simple tomato sauce. If I could, I would eat it every night.
Now obviously I don't live in America but Florida's tomato farms are not the only industry where there are very real concerns about the conditions that workers are force to operate in. Anti-Slavery, a UK based charity which works against slavery throughout the world, currently is campaigning against child slavery in chocolate production in the Ivory Coast. I don't want to eat a bar of chocolate made from cocoa beans that have been harvested by a young boy who should be in school rather than wielding a machete. In fact, I don't want to eat anything that's been produced by slavery. I'm so grateful for Cassie and Ali and all those who are working to raise awareness of these issues and I hope that the increased awareness leads to real change and a fairer future for everyone.
So, it's an awkward transition from slavery to gnocchi isn't it?
A while ago, I made these ricotta gnocchi for the blog. I actually make them all the time; I love a meal that you can have on the table within a matter of minutes. The original recipe calls for plain flour but I'd been wondering for a while whether it would be possible to change it up a little and swap in some different flours.
The answer I came to is, sort of.
In order to keep the gnocchi light and fluffy, you do need to use mainly plain flour. Using whole grains, or any other type of flour, produces a much denser result and really quite an unpleasant bite. After many experiments and a whole lot of gnocchi-eating, I think the recipe below has the perfect balance. The gnocchi maintain their pillow-like texture but there's a hint of nuttiness and wholesomeness from the buckwheat flour.
Deb first introduced Marcella Hazan's tomato, butter and onion sauce to me. I knock up a batch most weeks. Sometimes, however, I'm too lazy to chop an onion in half as required by the recipe. I can report, however, that just simmering a tin of chopped tomatoes and a small knob of butter makes a pretty stellar sauce.
For more information about this month long celebration of all things tomato, head to Cassie and Ali's sites where they have all the details you'll need.
Buckwheat gnocchi with tomato and butter sauce
Gnocchi recipe provided by Toby Kennedy, sauce recipe adapted from Marcella Hazan via smitten kitchen
Yield: Serves 2
IngredientsFor the sauce:
- 1 x 400g (8 oz) tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the gnocchi:
- 200g (8 oz, 1 cup) ricotta
- 2 egg yolks
- A pinch of nutmeg
- A pinch of black pepper
- 100g (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) plain/all purpose flour
- 65g (1/2 cup) buckwheat flour
- To make the sauce, simmer together the tomatoes and the butter in a large pan for 30 min or so until the tomatoes have broken down. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To make the gnocchi, mix all the ingredients into a dough with your hands but don't overwork the mixture (no more than 5 minutes of kneading).
- Separate your dough into two balls and roll each into a sausage shape on a lightly floured worktop.
- Cut into gnocci-sized pieces and cook in a pan of boiling salted water. They should float to the top once they are cooked.
- Add the gnocchi to the sauce and serve immediately.