Hello hungry peoples,
Today we are going to talk about gnocchi. “Ooooh its too hard, too much hassle” I hear you say. Well you are wrong and should shut up. Just kidding, I would never say about you, you beautiful gorgeous snowflake! The fact is with gnocchi if you don’t know how to really do it and don’t have the right equipment it is nigh on impossible. Much like croissants the ingredients are really simple, it is all in the technique. I think everyone who has tried to make it has experienced the epic failure of having hours worth of work turn into a floury potato soup when you try to cook them. I know I have. Alternatively they stay together but form hard little indigestible bullets. When I was in my gnocchi-failure related funk I found a really easy replacement – Gnocchi Alla Romano. This is a variation based on polenta rather than potatoes and flour and is super easy. The recipe is here but today lets shoot for the stars!
The key to success is to get the amount of moisture and the distribution of flour to potato correct. If the potato gets too wet it can make everything soggy and fall apart. Firstly you could bake the potatoes in an oven. Super hassles and time consuming but it does produce a good result. It will take about an hour to get them tender in an 180 ° C oven. Put them straight onto the rack as the air circulation will help. Secondly you could boil the potatoes in large chunks to prevent them getting too waterlogged. You will have to use a lot of flour to soak up the extra liquid which produces a tougher gnocchi. People recommend that you leave the skins on the potatoes to help with the water-logging, which means you will have to peel hot potatoes. I really hate peeling hot potatoes. Lastly the quickest and easiest, and obviously my preferred option, is to microwave the potatoes. Poke some holes in with a skewer so they don’t explode and zap in the microwave between 5-10 mins until they are cooked through.
The other really important thing is to get a nice fine potato mash. This is one of the main culprits for everything falling apart. I never had any success until I used a drum sieve or a potato ricer. The benefit of the potato ricer is that the peel will stay in the unit so you don’t need to peel the potatoes and a bit of a time saver. When you are bringing everything together try to not add all of the flour. The more flour and the more “working” you do with it, the tougher your gnocchi will be. I use a folding motion rather than kneading which helps prevent this. I think that covers the important stuff. This is something I struggled with for months so be kind to yourself if it doesn’t work the first time. You will get there. I believe in youuuuuu!
- 1 kg potatoes
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups plain flour
- Microwave your potatoes for 5-10 minutes.
- Using a potato ricer mash the potato onto your counter and let them steam and dry out a bit.
- Crack your two eggs into a bowl and give them a whisk.
- Drizzle the eggs on top of the potato.
- Starting with 1/2 cup of plain flour dust the potatoes.
- Using a pastry cutter or silicon hand scoop the potato and fold them over. Add more flour.
- Continue this process folding the dough and adding flour. It needs to form a dough but the more you work the flour the tougher your gnocchi will be. Just try to not knead it.
- Roll the dough into a short rectangular log.
- Cut a inch off the dough rectangle. Roll the slice into a 1.5 cm thick log. Use flour as needed to stop things sticking.
- Once you are happy with your log, dice it using a pastry cutter (or a knife) into 1.5 cm rectangle dumplings. Ideally they will be the same size so they cook evenly but as you can see in the photo I suck at this. You can indent the balls with a fork to produce the traditional shape. This is believed to help sauce stick to the gnocchi but the jury is really out on this and it is a lot of extra work.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a simmer. Carefully place the gnocchi into the water and scoop out when they float to the surface (this means they are cooked). You can add these to any pasta sauce or for something fancy make a brown butter sage sauce and pan fry the gnocchi in it. Yum!
Difficulty: This is a hard one. Sorry.
p.s. You can make a variety of flavoured gnocchi if you want to sneak some more vegetables in. I have had success with both pumpkin and sweet potato gnocchi (recipes to come).
p.p.s. If you have a good ricotta gnocchi recipe send it my way. I am still hunting the internet for one.
p.p.p.s Gnocchi can be frozen before boiling. Just put on a platter in the freezer until frozen and store in freezer bags.