At times, I throw my Cardinal Rules and spontaneous recipes to the wind, investing in a more daring feat. Likegnocchi. My twin sister Dimity and I confirmed that gnocchi requires: two people, two hours, and a bottle of velvety red. The most delightful and rewarding of Saturday evening experiences, particularly tucked inside against the gray skies with our favorite tunes crooning in the background. Simply marvelous! We made REALgnocchi! Glee.
Making gnocchi with our Italian Mamma is one our first cooking memories; a hazy picture surfaces of my thumb being guided down the tines of the fork to form the proper shape. As we’ve discovered at 28, picking up a pack of fresh gnocchi from your favorite Italian market or heck, Trader Joe’s, could be equally gratifying, though we refuse to believe that tonight.
Though unusual in my kitchen, we do some research before committing the last of my winter potatoes. A clevervideo points out the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” and offers; “gnocchi is prepared in as many ways as there are grandmothers in Italy.” What a hoot.
Oh how I love my farmers and foresight; the ingredients are begging to be drawn from storage (though they are easily found at the store too)!
- yellow-fleshed potatoes, about 2 pounds, or 8 cups mashed
- coarse sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 egg, slightly beaten
- olive oil
- In a large pot, bring the potatoes to a boil (covered at first to speed up; remove lid when rolling). From start to finish, this takes about 45 minutes. With a fork, test the potatoes. If the fork slides in and out smoothly, they're ready. Do not overcook to the point where they are mushy and easily falling apart. The potatoes should remain firm and intact.
- Remove the potatoes to a colander and allow to cool for about five minutes. Begin peeling them while they're still piping hot (but don't burn yourself!). The skins will slide right off! Set aside in another colander until all the potatoes are peeled.
- Refill the pot with fresh water and bring to a simmer, covered. Prepare a large bowl of ice water as well. Meanwhile...
- In a large bowl, mash the potatoes with a fork. (Though you'll find that most recipes suggest using a potato ricer to create a non-chunky, fluffy consistency. We don't have one. A fork will do, or a masher. Do not blend or grate in a food processor, or you'll destroy the sticky gluten!)
- The kneading begins! Form a bowl with your dough and add the egg and some flour in the center. Keep your flour at hand. Begin kneading as you would with any other dough, pressing with the heel of your hand. Continue to add a couple spoonfuls of flour at a time and knead, knead, knead. When the dough is no longer unbearably sticky, but still slightly sticky, stop.
- Now, you'll need to follow the images below for a proper explanation. I attempt in writing: roll logs of dough about 3/4 in. thick. With a sharp knife or spatula, cut 3/4 in. sections. Roll the piece along the inside prongs of a fork to form the traditional ribbed shape. (This step is technically optional, as it's just an aesthetic touch!)
- Gently drop a small batch of gnocchi (about 10) into the simmering water. When the gnocchi float, they are ready! Remove to the ice bath and let them bathe for about two minutes. Remove to a tea towel to briefly dry and transfer to a bowl. Mix with olive oil to keep from sticking and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Repeat with each batch, until the bowl grows!
- You can either serve your gnocchi immediately with the following sauces, store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, or store in a Ziplock bag in the freezer for another week or month.