Light and pillowy handmade gnocchi from La Tua Pasta in a rich tomato sauce
Everything about the gnocchi sold at La Tua Pasta is Italian: the fine, ‘00’ flour used to make them, the tomatoes for the sauce, the recipe, the commitment to creating the tastiest dishes with the freshest and simplest of ingredients—even the hands with which they’re made. Everything, that is, but the stall’s entirely un-Italian flexibility as to how you should eat them. Contrary to the Italians’ reputation for intransigence over their often highly localised cooking traditions, here, it’s all about personal enjoyment.
“What is good with the gnocchi is that they are very versatile—almost any sauce can go along very well with it,” says co-founder Francesco Boggian. “The three main combinations we serve are gnocchi with bolognese ragu, tomato sauce, and basil garlic pesto”—the latter, according to stall manager Giuseppe, being the most traditional, as well as the most popular on the stall.
He likes to mix it up—quite literally. “I like to combine the basil pesto with the tomato sauce. It works really well and a lot of the customers ask for it now too,” he smiles. We take his advice on the premise that often, if we’re honest, more is more with us. We’re glad we did so.
The basil pesto adds an extra layer of interest to the classic tomato sauce (a combination of tomatoes, basil, olive oil, onions, salt and pepper) without overpowering the, well, potato-y flavour of the gnocchi—a mark of their quality. “A lot of the time gnocchi can be too dense and flavourless, but we have developed a recipe that is nice, tasty and not too heavy!” To that we can attest: they are fluffy, pillow-like, handmade overnight in the La Tua kitchens just 10 miles from the Borough Market stall, and delivered fresh early each morning, along with the sauces.
“It is very rare to have pasta or gnocchi on the stall for more than two days, even though it would keep longer,” Giuseppe continues. “For us, we would much rather have fresh products every day.” The dishes are cooked to order, taking mere minutes to boil, and served piping hot with a sprinkling of parmesan. “We serve this with parmiggiano regiano, but there’s also the option to add more cheese, as well as black pepper or chilli flakes—it depends on the customer’s own taste. That’s what we do: we serve it the way you like it.”