Consider the parsnip: fed to the pigs by the French and written out of Italian cuisine altogether. Unloved and overlooked, this root barely registers in British cooking, either, other than in the Christmas roast to keep the turkey and co company.
But its sweet, starchy flesh can mash, crisp and roast as well as any potato. And here it binds a spell around flour to make excellent sweet and savoury gnocchi, which no Italian would ever recognise, but which work a charm with a hot-and-sour gochujang sauce.
Parsnip and potato gnocchi with gochujang and hazelnuts
Gochujang is a Korean red pepper paste that, once tasted, is never forgotten. It can be found in the world food aisle of larger supermarkets, most Asian food stores and online. The sauce needs no cooking, and can be adjusted to suit your own preferences.
Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
1 large floury potato, peeled and chopped into large pieces (250g net weight)
2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped into large pieces (150g net weight)
½ tsp salt
60g ‘00’ flour
2 tsp gochujang paste
2 tbsp white miso
1½ tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
100g young spinach
50g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Put the potato and parsnips in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until tender – around 10 minutes – then drain and leave to steam dry for 15 minutes. Tip back into the pan, add the salt and mash until very smooth.
Add the flour to the mash and, using your hands, gently mix it in to form a dough. Tip out on to a clean work surface and divide in two (keep the saucepan to one side). Roll each piece into a sausage around 35cm long x 2cm thick, then cut each sausage into 12 even pieces.
Line a plate with a clean cloth and have a slotted spoon ready. Rinse out the saucepan and fill with fresh water. Bring to a rolling boil, drop in the gnocchi and cook for one to two minutes, until they float to the top. Lift out with the slotted spoon and drain on the lined plate.
In a small bowl, mix the gochujang, miso, sesame oil and lemon juice.
In a medium frying pan, heat the oil, swirling the pan gently so it coats the base. Once hot, add the gnocchi and fry for a couple of minutes, until golden brown underneath. Flip over the gnocchi and cook for another couple of minutes, to brown the other side.
Add the spinach to the pan and stir gently (so as not to break up the gnocchi) until it wilts. Add a couple of tablespoons of the sauce, stir until the gnocchi and spinach are coated, then divide between two plates. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and serve with extra sauce on the side, if you like.