Sunday, August 31, 2014

Making Homemade Gnocchi

Light Potato Gnocchi

It was such a pleasure working on this piece -- and to be able to document a recipe that I have been enjoying my entire adult life.  It was taught to me by a dear friend whose mother emigrated to America from Italy at the turn of the century -- talk about classically authentic!  

So, if you are looking for a light, flavorful gnocchi, try this one: 

Here is what you will need:

5 medium size potatoes 
3 cups 00 flour (you can order online or find at Whole Foods)
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil

This recipe serves four adults, and a couple of kids.  Do not double the recipe, it is better to make 2 separate batches (keeping 1 egg per batch).  

Peel, quater and boil potatoes until they are soft. Run them under cold water to bring temperature down. 

Place the flour onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the middle, add a pinch of salt. This well is very important; it will help regulate the amount of flour that is absorbed into the dough.  Once the moisture threshold is reached, the outlying flour is not used. 

Mash the potatoes (preferably with a ricer) directly into the flour. 

Add the egg and the olive oil and knead together with your hands. Fold flour in from the middle to the outside. It will thicken into a paste and will initially stick to your hands. It will also be somewhat lumpy.  If it continues to stick to hands as you knead, add more flour.  If it's too dry, add more olive oil. 

After kneading for about 2 minutes (the dough should be light to the touch and not too sticky), form the dough into a ball and let it sit (cover with a bowl) for at least a half hour. 

Lightly flour both the work surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough into a flat circle.  
Tip: to keep the dough circular, rotate the dough a quarter turn after each roll. 

Roll dough until it is about an 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into even rectangles. 

Using your index and middle fingers, lightly push into the center of the rectangle forming each one into a Cavatelli shape:

Bring a large pan of water to a fast boil, add salt and drop in the gnocchi.  They will sink to the bottom.  When they rise to the top, after 3-4 minutes, the gnocchi are done. 

Add your favorite sauce.  I prefer fresh summer tomato sauce, where seeds and skins have been removed.  Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan. Savor each and every bite: 

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