Sunday, December 29, 2013

Making gnocchi

A few days ago I started my vegan reloaded with store-bought gnocchi. Today, it was Sunday, I was adventurous and decided to make home-made gnocchi. I cooked 2 large russet potatoes, cooled them, mixed them with flour and an egg and some salt, and for a moment there I felt like an old nana from Italy visited by Tyler Florence with a camera, rolling, pinching and pressing 1000s of little gnocchi bundles to be thrown in a large pot with boiling water waiting to feed a family of 20. I’ve made gnocchi before, many years ago when I knew little about cooking, and all I remember was that it was a complete disaster and I never made them again. But as said, I felt adventurous.

I cooked a few of them for 4 min and to my great delight they came out perfectly, with a light, fluffy texture and light potato-ey taste (they are really just tiny German dumplings).

Here we go --- home-made gnocchi:

You need

  • 2 russet potatoes (mine came up to 1 pound).
  • 1 small egg
  • 1/3 cup of flour (+ 1-2 TB)
  • 1/2 ts salt

Peel the potatoes, cut them into large chunks and cook for about 30min. Preserve the potato water, remove the potatoes and cool (at least 20min).

Use a foodmill and ‘shred’ the cooked potatoes into a soft mash (see picture below). On a large, washable surface, pour out the mashed potatoes,distribute the flour over it, make a small mound, and crack in the egg.

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Use a dough scraper and fold in the flour and egg into the potatoes.

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The mass should combine to a nice dough that is not too tacky (if tacky, add more flour).  Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll out each part like a tube about as thick as your thumb. Use the scraper to cut off 1 inch pieces.

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Place each gnocchi on a fork and press in it from the backside with your thumb. Take it off and place it on a floured surface.

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Now, it is time for cooking. They have to be cooked in batches so that they don’t crowd the pot. Use the preserved potato water for extra flavor. If you poured it out accidentally, just use salted water. Bring water to a boil, and then add a few gnocchi (depending on the size of the pot). At the beginning the gnocchi fall to the bottom of the pot, but rise after 1-2min. However, they taste best when cooked for 4 min.

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Serve with a simple butter or cream sauce --- just melt some butter with a bit of salt and some herbs. I had it with a side of green bell pepper and corn with truffle butter.

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