This is first in a series of two posts about gnocchi. Here, I have the recipe for gnocchi dough. The other two upcoming posts are different variations on how to cook gnocchi.
I’ve always wanted to make gnocchi like a nonna italiana. There are only a few steps to making gnocchi. That said, many things can definitely go wrong. It’s not for the faint of heart. But cooking is experimentation. And if it’s a rainy day, like it was this past Sunday, set some time aside and give it a go. Commit to at least 3 tries- you’ll get better and better!
I apologize that I don’t have any pictures of my process of actually making the gnocchi. I was focusing on getting the dough right that I forgot to stop and take pictures! I’ll definitely have photos next time.
- Fill a large pot with cold water. Salt the water.
- Place the potatoes in the water.
- Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender throughout, about 45 minutes.
- Save the potato water.
- Working one potato at a time, remove from pot with a slotted spoon and, without burning yourself, peel the potato as soon as possible.
- While the potato is still hot, create a fluffy potato base by either pushing the peeled potato through a ricer or by using the tines of a fork to scrape down the sides of the potato or by grating it against the fine side of a box grater.
- Repeat these last two steps with the rest of the potatoes and spread the potato base on a cutting board or sheet and let cool, 10 – 15 minutes.
- Create a mound with the potato base and drizzle the beaten egg on top.
- Sprinkle about 3/4 of the flour over the mound.
- Using a large flat spatula, incorporate the egg and flour into the potato base by scraping under the mound and folding.
- After the dough reaches a light crumble consistency, gently knead the dough.
- Add more flour, one small handful at a time, if the dough is still sticky. The dough should feel moist, but not sticky.
- Cut the dough into eighths.
- Roll each section into a log, about the thickness of your thumb and cut into 3/4″ pieces.
- To shape the gnocchi, hold each piece, cut ends out, against the tines of the fork.
- Use your thumb to press in and down the length of the tines.
- The shape should form a light “C” and should capture the indentation impressions of the tines.
- Reheat the potato water. When it comes to a boil, drop gnocchi about 20 – 25 at a time.
- The gnocchi will pop to the top when they’re done, about 3 -4 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon.
- Toss with your favorite sauce.
It is important to work quickly while the potatoes are still hot because the potato base will turn out lighter and fluffier. To peel the potatoes, I hold them in a kitchen towel (fabric towel, not paper) and use a vegetable peeler. Usually with one swipe, you’ll be able to lift up a good chunk of the peel. It should peel off like a wrapper.
A potato ricer is the quickest and easiest way to create the potato base. But nonne italiane have been making gnocchi long before the ricer came about. So using a fork is just fine (although, it’s more tricky). Simply run the tines down the sides of the peeled potatoes. You just want to make sure you create a soft base without lumps. Do not over-mash.
Let the mashed potato base cool adequately. You want to let the steam (and moisture) evaporate before you add flour – otherwise the dough will get sticky – and then you won’t be able to form the gnocchi shape.