Thursday, October 25, 2012

Classic Potato Gnocchi

Snow is falling on Aspen, and has been for the past 24 hours.  We had an overnight transformation from fall to winter.  With the snow came a need for comfort food and red wine (and salad of course), and gnocchi sounded perfect.

Ahhh gnocchi.  Finally, as promised, the recipe is here.  The delicate texture of these dumplings mixed with a perfect sauce makes brisk nights seem warm.  I first had gnocchi on a trip to Italy in 2005, and completely forgot about it for many years.  One night we visited a new restaurant in Denver, only to find gnocchi on the menu.  I have tried (and failed) to make gnocchi in the past, but over the past 2 months I have been perfecting this technique i found at the Italian Dish, and am ready to share it. The keys to this method are baking the potatoes (to achieve the dry potato flesh needed for gnocchi), making the dough while the potato is still warm, and using only the egg yolks for a richer flavor and improved texture.

Potato Gnocchi
serves 3-4
 Barely adapted from the Italian Dish Blog

Note: While not required, a potato ricer makes gnocchi so much easier.  If you choose to mash the potatoes by hand, use a fork and be very gentle.  Too much mashing can break down the cells and allow excess water to be released, which makes for a gummy dough.

  • 2 medium baking potatoes, about 1.5 pounds total (doesn't have to be exact)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • almost 2 cups flour (you may not use all the flour)
1. Bake potatoes at 400 degrees until tender (about 30-45 minutes).
2. Lightly beat egg yolks, and set aside.
3. Allow potatoes to cool until you can just handle them, and scoop flesh into potato ricer and press into yolks while whisking to prevent scrambling of the eggs. The potato needs to be warm to allow binding with the egg and flour.
4. When the dough gets too thick, stop whisking and finish pressing the potatoes.
5. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and work into a cohesive dough with your hands.
6. Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter or board and kneed lightly until dough comes together, adding additional flour 2 tablespoons at a time.  The dough should not be too sticky or firm.  You want a cohesive dough, with minimal visible flecks of potato. See photo.

Finished dough
7. Slice off a small piece of dough with a scraper or large knife, and roll to 3/4 inch diameter.  Slice into 1/2 to 3/4 inch gnocchi.  Set aside on floured towel until finished cutting all. Remember the gnocchi will swell when they are boiled.

8. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add gnocchi in batches, and when they float to the top cook 1 more minute before removing with a slotted spoon.
9. Place gnocchi directly into the sauce of your choice, and allow to simmer gently for at least 3 minutes before serving. 

1 comment:

  1. I am very impressed with your gnocchi skills! Seems obvious you put a lot of time into perfecting the recipe. Someday when I'm feeling patient I'll try it :)

    - V