Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi!  No, I didn't just sneeze.  Are you wondering how to say this word which is derived from knot and little knuckle in Italian?  You should pronounce 'gn' as one letter, similar sound as 'ni' in onion or 'ny' in canyon.  Okay, let's say it together... {neeyo-key} Gnocchi!

 

Gnocchi are pasta-like dumplings which are typically eaten at the first course {primo piatto}, but the last time I ate gnocchi I ordered it for my main entree.  The reason I remember this is because Mike and I were in Italy.  We dined al fresco at Vincenzo's, overlooking the town of Positano and the Tyrrhenian Sea.  It was a gorgeous evening; the sun was beginning to sneak behind the mountainside, and hints of lemons and salty ocean air drifted along light breezes.  I am still awed by the talented hands which transformed and elevated the simple and fresh ingredients into one of the best meals I've ever had!  If you want to see the dinner we had that night, click the link to my Positano post and scroll through the pictures.  http://foodandgladness.com/food/2012/12/12/positano-italy-aug-2012

 

There are several variations used for the base when making gnocchi:  semolina flour/eggs, ricotta/spinach, and potato.  Most gnocchi have ridges to capture thick sauces, but these may be omitted if you know you are going to pair it with a butter sauce.  Any way you choose to make them, these light, airy, and savory pillows will be a welcome sight to your guests.  Gnocchi are quite easy to make, and are budget friendly too.  When was the last time you impressed someone by cooking a potato?  Well, here's your chance.  Mangia bene! {Eat well!}  And, of course, thank God for good food and gladness!

 

PRINTABLE RECIPE, CLICK HERE

Ingredients for Gnocchi

Makes about 10 dozen- one inch gnocchi.  Recipe derived from   The Amalfi Coast-A collection of Italian Recipes by Kate and Giancarlo Caldesi

  • 1 kg = 2lb 3 oz of floury potatoes (russets)
  • 300 grams of '00' flour {can substitute with Semolina flour; do not use all purpose flour}
  • 1 egg - beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • few twists of fresh pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

  • Wash potatoes, leaving skins on, place in large stock pot.  Fill with water (salted) to cover potatoes.  Boil the potatoes 30-45 min until fork tender.
  • Peel potatoes while they are still hot; place hot potato on cutting board, insert fork to stabilize, and use a paring knife to peel off the skins. 
  • Use a potato ricer or food mill to 'mash' the potatoes. Place on a large floured wooden board or table.
  • Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Add about 3/4 of the flour and one beaten egg.  Flour hands and knead ingredients together.  Dough should be soft, pliable, and airy.  If too sticky, and a little more flour.  
  • Cut dough into 3 parts; then use palms of hands to roll dough out, forming a long rope-shape.  Cover unused dough with bowl or towel to prevent drying out. 

     

  • Cut small pieces {about 1 inch size} from the rope-shape dough.
  • Form the "classic" ridges by holding a gnocchi board or fork at a 45 degree angle; place gnocchi at the top and use your thumb to gently roll/push it down. You'll have a 'C' shape gnocchi because of the pocket your thumb created. 
  • If cooking immediately, boil large pot of salted water; cook gnocchi 2-4 minutes.  Gnocchi will rise to the top of the pot.  Use a slotted spoon to remove.  Toss with desired sauce.  
  • May refrigerator (1 week) or freeze (3 months). On a lightly floured sheet, not touching each other, allow gnocchi to dry at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning at least once. Place sheet of gnocchi in freezer for 30 minutes.  Once frozen, may place in freezer bags or storage container.