You’d think gnocchi would be easy to make. It’s just potatoes, flour, salt and eggs. Ratios here are important; too much flour and your gnocchi are going to sink to the bottom of your stomach and sit there for a week. Too little flour and they become a sticky mess.
Good quality, starchy potatoes are a must. Russets are the potato of choice. Organic, even better. Locally grown or from your own garden– YES!!! In any case, russets will give you nice, fluffy, pillowy gnocchi.
You will need a potato ricer to make perfect gnocchi. You could probably use a food mill, but I fear that the potatoes will get too gluey. A ricer is a worthy investment and will see plenty of action. Use it to make mashed potatoes and you’ll wonder where this tool has been all your life. And, you no longer have to peel potatoes. Cut them in half to boil, place cut side down in the ricer, press into some warm buttermilk and melted butter and your potatoes are ready to be mashed. But I digress… I shouldn’t blog when I’m hungry.
I’ve been following Barbara Lynch’s recipe from her cookbook, Stir, to make gnocchi. I’ve made one major modification. She calls for potatoes to be boiled and I bake mine. Boiling will make the potatoes too watery, requiring more flour which again, make leaden gnocchi. I’ve also bumped up the salt since I bake the potatoes.
To shape the gnocchi, you can use the back of a fork, like an Italian grandma. You could use a gnocchi board, which is a small wooden board with ridges or you could make a dent with your finger after cutting- just so you have a little cup to catch whatever delicious sauce your serving on your gnocchi. (I’m sorry that I didn’t get pics of me shaping the gnocchi, but I’m a one woman show in the kitchen.)
How many times can I say “gnocchi” in this post?
Here’s the recipe:
2 pound of russet potatoes (also known as Idaho or baking potatoes)
9 oz (2 cups) All purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (if using regular table salt, using a little less)
2 room temperature large eggs
Prepare a baking sheet by sprinkling with cornmeal or flour.
Bake the potatoes and allow to cool completely. Cut them in half and place half the potato, cut side down in the ricer, and rice onto a piece of parchment paper or mixing bowl. Repeat until all the potatoes are riced.
Add 4.5oz (1 cup) of flour and salt to the potatoes. Toss gently together. Make a well in the center of the potato mixture and add the eggs. Mix. If the mixture is too sticky, add more flour a little at a time, until the dough is slightly sticky. Go easy on the flour. You can add more during the little bit of kneading you will do, if you need it. When it comes together in a shaggy mass, dump out onto a lightly floured board and knead into a ball. Do not over knead. Dough should still be a little sticky.
Cut the dough in half and cut each half into three pieces. You can cut each third in half if it makes it easier for you to work with.
Roll the first piece into a rope about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the rope in 1 inch sections. Make an indent in each piece with your finger or roll down the gnocchi board or fork. Place gnocchi on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with each piece of dough. Put the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the gnocchi are frozen, you can put them in a freezer bag or other container in the freezer.
To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the frozen gnocchi and cook for 4-5 minutes or until they are all floating.
Drain. Toss with your favorite sauce and serve.