Can’t decide between Italian or Japanese for dinner? Make this Soba Gnocchi and you can have both, problem solved! This classic Italian dish is made from an authentic Italian recipe learnt straight from an Italian cooking expert in Italy! (Did I mention Italy?). But instead of using plain flour, I made this gnocchi with buckwheat to give it a simple little twist and make it like the Japanese noodles, Soba!
A couple of years ago, my daughter and I went on a Europe trip together to celebrate her graduation from high school. We argued and yelled at each other a lot on the trip, but looking back now it was a lot of fun and a great experience. One of the highlights of our trip was the cooking class we took during our stay in Rome. After a tiring and stressful journey (like, I mean super stressful, we missed our train and got lost several times along with a tonne of other mishaps) we finally made it to Sabina, a beautiful countryside region outside of Rome where we met with Sally from Convivio Rome Italian Cooking Holidays. We were finally able to relax as she drove us to her home where the cooking class was held, which was located in a small, medieval, and incredibly picturesque village called Toffia, situated on a hilltop in Sabina. We even stopped along the way to pick some fresh herbs from the town garden to use in the cooking, how awesome!
Once we reached Sally’s house, we met her husband, Guido, who was our cooking teacher for the class. He shared many interesting facts about Italian cooking (we even learnt that Italians also call persimmons, “kaki”, just like Japanese do!) and taught us how to make three delicious Italian dishes: Gnocchi al ragu, Saltimbocca alla Romana, and Torta di ricotta alla Romana. We had so much fun making all the food and got to enjoy eating it in their charming taverna, which had a cool, stone wine cellar.
To relive the fun we had at the cooking class, we thought we would make the gnocchi for lunch but give it a little twist and use buckwheat to create an Italian/Japanese hybrid dish: Soba Gnocchi. In case you didn’t know or have never had soba before, it is a type of Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. So we used Guido’s authentic Italian recipe for gnocchi and just replaced the plain flour with buckwheat to put our own little Japanese spin on the dish.
I really wanted to serve the gnocchi with a creamy mushroom sauce, but my daughter hates it so we used a classic tomato passata sauce. You can use whatever sauce flavour you like, I think any sauce will go well, you can’t really go wrong with pasta. Top the pasta with some delicious parmesan cheese and serve with a rustic bread loaf, and “Buon Appetito”!
Soba (Buckwheat) Gnocchi
- 500 g white potatoes
- 250 g buckwheat flour
- 1/2 an egg
- Serve with your favourite sauce and toppings e.g parmesan cheese, basil, etc.
- Wash and boil the potatoes until soft.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain the water and allow the potatoes to cool down.
- Peel the skin off the potatoes and then mash them.
- Create a well in the centre of the potatoes and add the flour.
- In a small bowl, whisk an egg.
- Create a well in the centre of the flour and pour in half the egg mixture (discard the remaining egg).
- Mix it all together with your hands until it becomes a dough.
- Flour a board and roll out a chunk of the dough into a long and slightly thin line.
- Cut the dough line into about 1 cm sized pieces then press down on the pieces with a fork to create indented lines.
- Continue until all the dough is made into pieces.
- Boil some water in a large pot and in a large frying pan, heat your sauce.
- Gently drop some of the gnocchi into the boiling water.
- Once the gnocchi floats to the top scoop the pieces out and add them to the sauce in the frying pan and gently mix to coat with sauce.
- Continue until all the gnocchi is cooked and placed in the sauce.
- Serve with your favourite pasta toppings.
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