Mar 8, 2013

Potato gnocchi

I like making gnocchi. Is it really relaxing? I think it is. You can't rush anything, you stand in your kitchen for about an hour...making...gnocchio after gnocchio.
Gnocchi is an old Italian tradition. You can make them using all kinds of vegetables and cheeses. Some gnocchi don't use potatoes at all. But the most popular - do.

I've wanted to make gnocchi for a long time, but I didn't have the potato press...till last Friday. I couldn't believe how well this tool works. Potatoes looked so fluffy and I barely had to use any force. Easier then pressing garlic.

Another fun thing I got to do was to give the dough the gnocchi shape. I don't have the cute little wooden board with ridges Italians use and I'm not planning on getting one. I used a fork. I've seen it done this way before. I didn't know exactly how but I wasn't planning on doing a you-tube research. After about 20 pieces...I got it! 

Once I had all the pieces ready, the cooking was quick and easy. And the gnocchi turned out perfect. Very delicate, almost sweet or almost salty (I guessed the salt amount like a pro). I just put some olive oil, Parmesan pieces, freshly ground black pepper and parsley on top....heaven!

Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano

time: 1h preparation + 15 min cooking = 1h 15min

1 kg (2.25 lb) cooked (in water w/o salt) whole potatoes with skin on 
300 g (2 cups) flour + extra for the rolling board
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
7 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt for boiling gnocchi
olive oil for finishing 


Peel the cooked potatoes while still hot/warm.

On a rolling board, sift flour. Put the warm potatoes through the press, let them fall on top of the flour. Don't use a mixer to do this, it will change the texture of potato to almost a thick liquid. Work flour and potatoes with your hands for about 1 minute. Add one egg and salt. Work the dough till smooth with no crumbs, for about 2-3 minutes. Use more flour so the dough doesn't stick too much to your board, but use a minimum amount or your gnocchi will be hard. This dough is fast and easy, not like a pizza dough. 

Once the dough is ready, put it in the corner of the rolling board. Cut about 3 cm (2 inch) thick pieces and roll them with your hands to form a long bar about 2 cm (1-2  inch) in diameter. Cut off 2-3 cm long pieces. If they are bigger than the size of your thumb or your fork, they won't turn out pretty.

Forming gnocchi:

  1. Press the small piece of dough gently in the middle with your thumb against the back of your fork. 
  2. Fold the piece of dough in half by pressing it again (on the side closer to the end of the fork) with your thumb. 
  3. Slid it gently toward the end of the fork closing the gnocchio at the same time. The point is to give them a nice shape and some ridges.
Gnocchi should rest for about 15 minutes before cooking, but if you are making a lot of them, the resting is built in the process.

Prepare a ceramic dish with a lid. Warm it up with hot water. Brush it olive oil.

In a medium/large pot, bring 7 cups of water to boil. Add salt. Lower the heat to medium/high (I set my stove top on 7 on a scale from 1-10). Transfer gnocchi to the boiling water, 30 at the time. Boil for 1 minutes from the time you threw the last gnocchio in the water. They should all come up to the top by this time, if not, wait till they do. Adjust temperature of the stove top if necessary.  

Using a slotted ladle, take gnocchi out of water and place the in the ceramic dish. Close the lid, shake it gently to prevent gnocchi from sticking. Repeat the process, adding more olive oil after each load. Gnocchi are best when eaten right away. But they stay warm and good in the ceramic dish for about 2 hours and later, I reheat them on a skillet with olive oil.

Enjoy with Parmesan, pepper, parsley or anything that you like, even cream and sugar...that's a Polish thing.

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