Sunday night I made gnocchi for the first time. We had been planning to have gnocchi all winter and with the sighting of the first robin we thought we’d better get to it. I was a bit daunted with such an ambiguous recipe but I poured a glass of wine and tried to channel my best Julia Child.
The wanted a simple recipe and we already had some cooked potatoes so I did what anyone does these days – I searched for the “best gnocchi” recipe using potatoes. Here’s what I got::
2 cups all-purpose flour
The recipe called for cooking the potatoes in salted water (check!) and then mashing them. I put mine through a ricer to get more texture. Then I was to add the egg and work in the flour, kneading until the dough reached “the right consistency”. Great, a lot of help that was – what’s “right”?
Reading the comments in reviews of recipes on the Internet can be very useful, and this time they were invaluable. One person said to go with weight for the potatoes, working with 2 lbs and adding the flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough was resilient but not stiff. Another reviewer cautioned against kneading the dough like you would for bread as the gnocchi would end up tough. He said to gently knead it and then form a snake with the dough.
Cutting the snake into chunks gives you the gnocchi, which if you roll them over the back of a fork will allow them to catch more sauce. My own two cents was to add a dash more salt, some pepper and some dried thyme to the flour, to add to the final flavour combination.
The cooking method was to put the gnocchi in salted boiling water and pull them out when they floated.
That part worked beautifully. I took one more piece of reviewer advice: add the cooked gnocchi to your hot sauce so they absorb more of the sauce’s flavours.
So, the recipe I found worked was 2 lbs of potatoes with 1-1/2 cups flour and a tiny bit more for rolling the snakes. For 2 people we had plenty for dinner by cooking only half. The remainder we froze on a baking sheet and later put in a ziplock bag.
My husband said that gnocchi are sometimes referred to as “pillows of goodness”. As I took my first bite with our homemade prawn bisque, served with monkfish and beans, I could certainly see why.