Gnocchi fritti

Makes about 30 pieces

These fried gnocchi are delicious little pre-dinner snacks that go really well with both cheeses and cured meats. You can also try dusting them with icing sugar and serving as a post-lunch or dinner snack.

300g plain flour
25g lard, frozen and grated
1tsp salt
15g fresh yeast
150-180ml warm water
Vegetable or corn oil, for deep frying the gnocchi

Mix the flour, lard and salt in a bowl then transfer on to a work top and make a well in the centre.

Dissolve the yeast in a little of the warm water and then mix into the flour with the rest of the water to form a smooth dough. Knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes – or, if you have a mixing machine with a dough hook attachment, approximately half that time. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave it to prove for a couple of hours, or until the dough has doubled in volume.

Transfer the dough to a floured work top and with a floured rolling pin, roll it to about 1cm thick.

With a knife or pastry roller, cut the dough into rough 8cm x 10cm rectangles or into triangles; it's up to you.

Preheat about 8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or an electric deep-fat fryer.

Fry the pieces a few at a time for about 20-30 seconds, moving them around in the oil with a slotted spoon, until they puff up and lightly colour, then remove from the oil and drain on some kitchen paper. Serve while still warm, dusting them with icing sugar or, alternatively, a selection of cured meats and cheeses.

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